A little, tough, and almost shrubby plant, common in our dry fields, and by road sides. It is a foot high. The stalks are round, reddish, tough, and almost woody. The leaves are numerous: they stand three on every foot stalk, and grow pretty close to the stalk. There are several short, and sharp prickles about the stalks, principally at the insertions of the leaves. The leaves are of a dusky green, and serrated about the edges. The flowers are small and purple: they stand among the leaves towards the tops of the stalks, and are in shape like pea blossoms, but flatted: each is followed by a small pod. The root is white, very long, tough, and woody.
The root is to be taken up fresh for use, and the bark separated for that purpose. It is to be boiled in water, and the decoction given in large quantities. It is good against the gravel, and in all obstructions by urine; and it is also good in the dropsy and jaundice.