Caespitose perennial. Herbage sparsely to densely strigose with dolabriform hairs. Stems 15–40 cm from a branched caudex. Leaves with 9 to 21 narrowly elliptic leaflets, 1–2 cm long; stipules lanceolate, united around the stem at the base. Inflorescence spike-like with 15 to 80 erect to ascending flowers. Flowers purple; sepals 1–4 mm long; calyx white and black dolabriform-hairy; banner barely reflexed, 11–16 mm long; keel 8–13 mm long. Legume sessile, erect, 6–12 mm long, linear-ovoid with appressed, basifixed, white hairs, grooved on 1 side.
Montana plants are variety robustior
Hook. (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)
Often stony soil of grasslands, steppe, open forest; plains, valleys, montane (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)