A short-lived herbaceous plant with creeping or scrambling stems. Its alternately arranged leaves are once-compound with 5-11 leaflets these oblong leaflets have hairless or sparsely hairy upper surfaces and densely hairy undersides. Its small pink or pinkish-orange pea-shaped flowers are arranged in elongated clusters.
I. spicata is native to Africa, Madagascar and throughout South and Southeast Asia, and was introduced to the Americas in tropical areas. It effectively controls soil erosion, even under heavy rainfall on slopes, hills and undulating land.
This plant contains indospicine and is notably toxic to many grazing animals.