There is no trace of this plant in early seed-bearing beds. It is a member of the flora of the North Temperate and Arctic Zone, of Arctic and Alpine Europe, Siberia, and America. In Great Britain it is found in Forfar, E. Perth, at altitudes of 2000 ft. It is confined to Scotland.

The silky or Yellow Mountain Vetch is found only on the moist mountain heights of Clova, where Oak-leaved Mountain Avens and other plants, such as Yellow Balsam, Winter Green, Butterwort, and other alpine or subalpine species, delight to grow.

It has much the same habit as Astragalus, but the stems are prostrate or the plant may have no aerial stem. The plant is silky or softly hairy. The leaves have the leaflets arranged each side of a common stalk, with lance-shaped acute leaflets, in about twelve pairs, with a terminal leaflet exceeding the flowering stems.