Today is ‘Sainfoin’ not May 1st


Today is Sainfoin.  There I’ve said it.  But I’ve had to look it up.  You will of course know it as Onobrychis viciifolia.  It must have crept into the nomenclature of the Republican calendar because it was recognised as being a great flower for bees, particularly in the Gâtinais that is the former county that covers Seine-et-Marne, Yonne, Loiret and Essonne. The area is famed for saffron and honey which has a distinct flavour from the Sainfoin.  So tip for this month is “buy honey”.

Sainfoin is also recognised as being a basic for ‘fodder’ and as such was one of the basic building bricks for the agrarian economy in France.

These days sainfoin is called an ‘amenity’ grass and is recognised as being an excellent ‘forage legume’, so if we were to rename all our days it would probably still feature.

This month we are also blessed with Golden Rod, Fritillary, Mustard and Strawberry on May 7th, 11th, 18th and 30th.  The strange ones that creep in this month are Hoe and Civet on 9th and 16th.  May 19th gives us Houlette. This was a “shepherd’s staff with an iron plate-shaped gutter on one end that was used to throw clods of earth or stones” Oxford Dictionary.  So May in the seventeen hundreds would have a busy time for the clod throwing shepherds and farmers keeping wild cats away from their strawberries!


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