A medium-sized tree with a short trunk and a broad, open, rounded crown.
Leaves alternate, feather-compound, 8–12 inches long, with 5–11 leaflets, not always in opposite pairs; leaflets oval- to egg-shaped to broadest in the middle, 2–4 inches long, 1½–3½ inches wide, margin entire, abruptly pointed at the tip; leaf stalk enlarged at the base, enclosing a bud.
Bark gray to light brown, thin, smooth.
Twigs slender, smooth, shiny, zigzag, brittle, reddish-brown, pores numerous; bud at end of twig absent, side buds usually 2–4, clumped, appearing as one, hairy.
Flowers in May–June, in elongated, hanging clusters 10–14 inches long; flowers white, fragrant, about 1 inch long, pea-shaped with 5 petals; upper petal founded with a yellow blotch at the base.
Fruits in August–September. A flattened pod 3–4 inches long, late to split into 2 halves, persisting into winter. Seeds 2–6, flattened, dark brown.