Great plains to the intermountain regions, prefering well drained soils of open woodlands and hillsides. Can form large colonies in hay meadows.
The principle toxin has not been isolated, but is thought to be similar to quinolizidine alkaloids found in Lupines. The toxin causes acute muscle degeneration. Poisoning is similar to that seen with Cassia species.
Erect, perennial up to 2 feet in height, with multiple stems arising from a spreading root system. Leaves are alternate, palmate, with 3 leaflets. Flower spikes arise from leaf axils. Pea-like flowers are distinctive, with prominent yellow petals. Seeds are produced in straight or curved hairy pods, constricted between seeds.
Cattle become weak, ataxic and unable to stand due to severe muscle degeneration. Animals die from hunger and thrist once recumbent due to muscle degeneration.
Supportive therapy including oral fluids containing electrolytes and a good quality diet. Recumbent animals need to be well bedded to prevent pressure induced myositis.
Muscle degeneration evident at necropsy.
Golden banner remains toxic in hay, especially if seed pods are present.