Acaulescent. Herbage silvery strigose with long and short hairs. Leaflets 7 to 21, lanceolate, 5–15 mm long. Stipules membranous, adnate to the petiole, pilose. Inflorescence of 5 to 30 flowers, 8–20 cm high including the peduncle. Flowers magenta, fading to blue; calyx hirsute with white hairs; sepals 2–6 mm long, narrowly lanceolate; banner 15–23 mm long; wings 2-lobed. Legumes ascending, 15–20 mm long, white-villous, inflated, rupturing the persistent calyx (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)
In Montana we have varieties besseyi
(Rydb.) Barneby, fallax
Barneby, and ventosa
(Greene) Barneby (Kartesz in prep. 2012), although Lesica (2012) only recognizes the first two listed.
Sparsely-vegetated, stony soil of grasslands, steppe, dry woodlands; plains, valleys to subalpine (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)