Indigofera tristis, earlier know as I. corniculata and commonly known as the velvety indigofera, is a shrubby plant with slender, erect stems, growing to heights from 60 cm to 2,5 m. The stems are pale brown.
The compound leaves are widely spaced. The velvety leaflets are oblong, tapering to tip and base, three to five pairs in a leaf.
The dense inflorescences of cerise flowers are presented well above the leaves. The racemes become 7 cm long. The sepals are toothed and covered in white hairs. Flower colour varies from pink or red to mauve. There are silky, dark brown hairs on the outside petal surfaces.
The plant's distribution in nature is in the Western and Eastern Cape, the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga; also beyond the border in southern Africa.
It grows mainly in grassland. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century (Pooley, 1998; http://redlist.sanbi.org).