It is a perennial plant with short spreading roots, stems 15–90 cm high. The flowers are pale yellow except for the lower lip which is orange, borne in dense terminal racemes from mid summer to mid autumn.
The plant is widespread on ruderal spots, along roads, in dunes, and on disturbed and cultivated land. Native to most of Europe and northern Asia. Introduced, is now common in North America
A tea made from the leaves was taken as a laxative and strong diuretic as well as for jaundice, dropsy, and enteritis with drowsiness. For skin diseases and piles, either a leaf tea or an ointment made from the flowers was used. In addition, a tea made in milk instead of water has been used as an insecticide. It is confirmed to have diuretic and fever-reducing properties.