It is a perennial herb of the family Rosaceae closely related to Meadowsweet. It has finely-cut, radical leaves, fern-like in appearance, and an erect stem 20–50 centimetres (8–20 in) tall bearing a loose terminal inflorescence of small white flowers. The tiny flowers appear in dense clusters from late spring to mid summer. The crushed leaves and roots have a scent of oil of wintergreen (Methyl salicylate).
It is found in dry pastures across much of Europe and central and northern Asia.