Stems of astragalus emoryanus
are generally prostrate, between 1 and 2 feet in length. They, and the leaves and calyces, have a relatively sparse covering of strigose hairs. Leaves are divided into an odd number of non-overlapping leaflets (between 11 and 19), each less than half an inch long. Leaflet tips may be pointed or rounded, and not usually notched. Small stipules grow at the leaf attachment points.
Flowers are formed singly or in small clusters; they are a little less than half an inch long, mostly pinkish purple in color though the center of the banner petal, the base of the wing petals and the upper part of the keel petals are white. Petals become bluish as they wither. Fruits are hairy, green or reddish pods, up to 1.5 inches long, and uniformly curved, often by 90 degrees or more. There are two varieties (var emoryanus and var terlinguensis), the latter found only in far west Texas, in and around Big Bend National Park.