A deciduous or often leafless shrub 4 or 5 ft high, with numerous erect-growing, slender, grooved branches, flattened or convex when young, round when old. Leaves very small and inconspicuous, consisting of three or five tiny leaflets, which are somewhat larger in young plants than in old ones. Flowers purplish lilac, pea-shaped, produced in axillary downy racemes; there are from one to three racemes at each joint of the twigs, and from three to seven flowers in each raceme, the whole forming a short, dense cluster. The flowers, although small (about 1⁄8 in. long), are borne in extraordinary profusion. Pod 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long, nearly as wide, ending in a stout-pointed beak, and containing usually two seeds, which are red, mottled with black.
Native of the North Island of New Zealand. Although not in cultivation at Kew at the present time, it grew there for forty years or more in the open ground, where, although slightly injured at the younger parts in severe winters, it was on the whole quite hardy and produced both flowers and seed in abundance. The form now grown in gardens appears, however, to be tender. It is not very showy or ornamental, but its flat erect branches give it a quaint and unusual aspect.