It is a perennial shrub or small tree growing 2–6 m (6 ft 7 in–19 ft 8 in) tall. Typically, it has a moderate to fast growth rate, being able to grow one to three feet during the first year after trimming.
The leaves vary from light green to dark green, and are alternate and compound with many small leaflets. Fragrant yellow flowers bloom in May or June. The fruits are legumes which contain many seeds, and ripen in July. As the seed pods dry they have a tendency to twist and pop open, releasing the seeds.