A deciduous shrub up to 10 ft in height, with long, often erect, supple branches, not much divided except near the ends. Leaves composed of two pairs of sessile leaflets, which are attached near the end of the common stalk, being themselves stalkless; they are obovate, rounded at the end, 1⁄2 to over 1 in. long, glabrous, dull green. Flowers bright yellow, 3⁄4 to 1 in. long, produced singly on a stalk rather shorter than the corolla. Calyx 1⁄3 in. long, bell-shaped, glabrous. Pod 11⁄2 in. long, 1⁄8 in. wide; cylindrical, glabrous.
In a wild state this species extends from the south of Russia to Central Asia. It was introduced in 1752. It is a pretty shrub in flower, and is often quite neat and graceful in habit, especially when 3 or 4 ft high, with its numerous thin twigs, rather pendulous. It is distinct in being unarmed and without down. Of several forms in cultivation the most distinct is var. mollis (DC.) Schneid., with leaves downy on both sides; found wild in the Caucasus.
var. grandiflora Schneid. var. macrantha Rehd. – Flowers over 1 in. long, with a proportionately short calyx.