Sesbania tomentosa is a variable species. It is usually a low, spreading shrub with horizontal or arching branches; it is can also have a treelike habit up to 15 feet tall. In the wild, a single plant can cover a large area, but in cultivation it will tend to be under 10 feet in diameter. Each leaf is made of many oval leaflets which appear white or silvery because they are densely covered with hairs. There are 2 to 9 pea-shaped flowers in each cluster hanging below the foliage. The color of these 1 inch flowers ranges from salmon to orange to scarlet, and very rarely pure yellow. (Koob 1999; Wagner 1990)
Sesbania tomentosa is an endangered, endemic Hawaiian plant. It used to grow in dry areas at elevations below 2,500 feet on all of the main islands. However, destruction of these habitats has greatly diminished its natural occurrence within its former range.