Perennial with a branched caudex. Herbage glabrate to strigose or villous with dolabriform hairs. Stems 5–30 cm, prostrate to ascending. Leaves with 9 to 17 linear to ovate leaflets, 5–25 mm long with rounded to acute tips; stipules lanceolate, 2–4 mm long, basallay connate. Inflorescence barely longer than the leaves, open with 5 to 10 spreading flowers. Flowers white to purple; calyx black- and or white-strigose; sepals ca. 1 mm long; banner 8–12 mm long, reflexed; keel 6–10 mm long, often purple-tipped. Legume pendent, glabrous to white-strigillose, 15–30 mm long flattened, linear (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)
Six varieties occur in Montana: var. miser
, var. crispatus
(M.E. Jones) Cronq., var. decumbens
(Nutt. ex Torr. & A. Gray) Cronq., var. hylophilus
(Rydb.) Barneby, var. praeteritus
Barneby, and var. serotinus
(A. Gray ex Cooper) Barneby.