Description from Flora of China
Hedysarum alpinum var. chinense B. Fedtschenko; H. chinense (B. Fedtschenko) Handel-Mazzetti; H. polybotrys Handel-Mazzetti var. robustum K. T. Fu; H. smithianum Handel-Mazzetti.
Herbs, perennial, 50-100 cm tall. Stems numerous, erect. Stipules triangular-lanceolate, 0.8-1.4 cm, connate farther than middle. Leaves 8-12 cm, 9-21-foliolate; leaflet blades ovate-oblong, narrowly elliptic, or oblong-lanceolate, 1.5-3 × 0.5-0.7 cm, abaxially appressed sparsely pilose to pubescent, adaxially glabrous. Racemes dense, with many flowers; bracts subulate-lanceolate, ± as long as pedicel; peduncle as long as to longer than leaves. Pedicel 2-4 mm. Calyx campanulate, 3-5 mm, pubescent to pilose; teeth triangular-lanceolate, unequal, most abaxial tooth ca. 2/3 as long as tube, adaxial 2 teeth ca. 1/2 as long as most abaxial one. Corolla purple; standard long obovate, 0.9-1.2 cm; wings as long as to slightly longer than standard; keel 2-3 mm longer than standard. Ovary glabrous or appressed pubescent. Legume divided into 2 or 3(-5) articles; articles ellipsoid to obovoid, 4-8 × 3-5 mm, compressed, glabrous, margin inconspicuous. Fl. Jun-Aug, fr. Jul-Sep. 2n = 14.
Swampy meadows, taiga forests, stony slopes, scrub. S Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, S Henan, Jilin, NE Nei Mongol, S Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan [Kashmir, N Korea, N Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia; E and N Europe, North America].