Onobrychis arenaria (Kit.) DC. - Sandy esparcet, Siberian esparcet.

Taxonomic position.

Family Leguminoseae Endl., genus Onobrychis Mill.


Onobrychis sibirica (Syrj.) Turcz. Ex Grossh.

Biology and morphology.

Perennial herb. Stems erect, branching, 30-90 cm high, with rare hairs or glabrous. Leaves pinnate with 6-15 pairs of elliptical or linear-lanceolate leaflets, 10-30 mm long, 2-5 mm wide. Racemes 6-10 cm long, multi-flowered. Florets purple-pink, 8-10 mm long. Pod is semi-pubescent, ovate, 5 mm long with short teeth on thorn and on the disk. Pods are flattened, indehiscent; each pod contains a single kidney-shaped seed, 4-6 mm in length. Flowers in May-June; seeds ripen in August-September. Cross-pollinated mainly by honey bees. 2n=14, 28.


Occurs in Europe, the European part of the former USSR, the Crimea, Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Asia Minor.


Occurs in meadows, at the edges of woods, in bushes or in the steppe. Prefers sandy soils. Excellent drought resistance. Adapted to warm, temperate climes.

Utilization and economic value.

Productive, protein- and mineral-rich legume suited to calcareous, dry-land soils because of deep-rooting growth habit and related drought resistance. Condensed tannins in the leaves prevent bloating in ruminants and also improve the efficiency of protein metabolism. Erect growth habit, suited to infrequent cutting for conservation (hay or silage) rather than grazing. Not adapted to a wide range of soil and environmental conditions. Unsuitable for intensive grazing.

Literature cited:

Brezhnev D.D., Korovina O.N. 1980. Wild relatives of the cultivated plants of flora of the USSR. L.: Kolos, 376 pp. (in Russian).
Hulten E., Fries M. 1986. Atlas of Northern European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. Vol. 1-3. Konigstein, 1172 p.
Malyshev L.I., Peshkova G.A., eds. 1979. Flora of Central Siberia. Vol. 2. Novosibirsk: Nauka, 1046 pp. (in Russian).
Meusel Y.1965. Vergleichende Chorologie der Zentraleuropischen Flora. Jena: 583 p.
Ovchinnikov P.N., ed. 1978. Flora of Tajikistan. Vol. 5. L.: Nauka, 678 pp. (in Russian).
Pavlov N.B., ed. 1961. Flora of Kazakhstan. 1961. Vol. 5. Alma-Ata: AN KazSSR, 515 pp. (in Russian).
Phyodorov A.A., ed. 1987. Flora of the European part of the USSR. Vol. 4. 254 pp. (in Russian).
Polozhiy A.B., Malyshev L.I., eds. 1994. Flora of Siberia. Vol. 9. Novosibirsk: Nauka, 280 pp. (in Russian).
Schischkin V.K., Bobrov E.G., ed. 1945. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 11. M.-L.: USSR, 430 pp. (in Russian).
Sinskaya E.N. 1948. Species dynamics. M.-L.: Selhozgiz, 526 pp. (in Russian).
Vvedenskiy A.I., ed. 1981. Plants of Asia Minor. A field guide. Vol. 6. Tashkent: Fan, 394 pp. (in Russian).

© N.I. Dzyubenko & E.A. Dzyubenko


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