Herbs, climbers, shrubs or trees. Leaves alternate, opposite or sometimes whorled; compound, simple, reduced to scales or modified into phyllodes or tendrils. Stipules usually present. Inflorescence paniculate, racemose, cymose, umbellate or flowers solitary. Flowers usually bisexual, regular or irregular, 3 – 5 merous. Sepals and petals usually free sometimes connate. Stamens up to 10 or numerous, free or fused. Carpel solitary, ovary superior, style terminal. Fruit a legume (pod), 1–many-seeded. 730 gen. cosmop.