Perennial herb from a branched root-crown atop a heavy taproot; stems several, ascending to erect, 20-60 cm tall, tufted, sparsely stiff-hairy.
Alternate, pinnately compound; leaflets 11 to 27, linear-oblong to narrowly elliptic or egg-shaped, abruptly narrowed to a sharp point at the tip, 1-3 cm long, slightly hairy beneath, minutely reddish-dotted above; stipules lanceolate, reddish-brown, papery, 5-12 mm long.
Inflorescence an axillary, dense, spike-like raceme of 10 to 50 pea-like flowers, the stout raceme-stalks longer than the leaves; corollas pink to lavender, lined with reddish-purple, 10-13 mm long, the wings much shorter than the banner or keel; calyces bell-shaped, the 5 awl-shaped teeth twice the length of the long-hairy tube.
Pods, leathery and non-splitting, egg-shaped, 6-8 mm long, hairy, net-ridged, pimply or short-prickly on the flanks; seeds 1.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Present from Summer to Fall
Source: The USDA
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Hedysarum onobrychis L.
Onobrychis sativa Lam.
Onobrychis viciaefolia Scop. [orthographic variant]
Holy-clover is noticeably abundant in disturbed sites (roadsides, open fields, clear cuts) in the southern interior where it often grows intermixed with Medicago sativa and Linaria genistifolia ssp. dalmatica.
Note Author: R. Klinkenberg, June 2009.