Let’s get to know the Esparceta or Onobrychis viciifolia

Onobrychis viciifolia also known as Safflower, Donkey’s Pea, Abibilla’s Ridgeback, Esparcetilla or Piporigallo . It belongs to the Leguminoseae family, of the genus Onobrychis, being native to the eastern Mediterranean.

Don’t forget to read: Onion grass, a species that is used as a forage plant

Characteristics of Onobrychis viciifolia

Erect perennial plant  that reaches a height of 15 to 80 cm, depending on conditions. The stems branch out so that the inflorescences grow.

The leaves are alternate, odd-pinnate, divided, smooth-edged, with elliptical leaflets, green in color.

The melliferous flowers settle on inflorescences in axillary racemes, with the calyx of elongated and hairy triangular teeth, papillonaceous.

The corolla is pink with strong pink parallel lines.

The fruit is a nocula that contains a kidney bean in black, brown or yellow.

Onobrychis viciifolia care

It occurs in limestone, ruderal and abandoned areas, with edges of ditches, roads and wastelands.

In gardening it is usually not used as much, however it is interesting in limestone areas. It is usually grown for pasture, silage or hay, as it is highly palatable to livestock.

It does not withstand heat well, which could lower its performance. It requires high humidity and a lot of care.

It can be a monophyte crop, or it can be associated with a grass that performs the function of a protective crop. The productive life is 3 to 5 years.

It adapts well to calcareous, aerated and well-drained soils. It does not tolerate flooding or compact terrain.

It is sown in the fall or early spring, since after the fall it causes a growth stop.

When the nitrogen reserve in the root is high, it will allow survival in the winter and the beginning of growth in the spring.

It is propagated by means of seeds. To do this, they should be soaked for at least 12 hours and sown in the spring.

By division, it can be planted directly in its permanent place.


Being a species rich in proteins, sugars and minerals, it is used to feed livestock.

In addition, it is used as a beekeeping plant thanks to the nectar that is rich in glucose. Likewise, it is used as green manure in cereal rotations due to its improving capacity.

Today it has been given another twist, as it is used in gardening for its ornamental value.

Did you know her? What do you think of this beautiful specimen? beautiful do not you think.

Now that if you are looking for more species to complement your collection, remember that in Garden Center Ejea  you can find them. So take a look at the plants section  and enter a world of possibilities.

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