Annual, biennial or perennial herbs, rarely woody (not in Victoria). Leaves mostly alternate, palmately or sometimes pinnately trifoliolate, rarely to 9-foliolate; usually petiolate; stipules conspicuous, often sheathing, partly united and adnate to petiole. Inflorescence axillary or falsely terminal, head-like, spicate or umbellate, usually many-flowered; bracts small or absent. Calyx cylindric or campanulate, sometimes inflated with age, throat open or closed by a 2-lipped callosity or a ring of hairs, teeth equal or unequal; petals narrow, usually united to staminal tube by their claws, often persistent in pod; stamens diadelphous, 9 united by their filaments in the lower half, the tenth free and facing the standard, all or half the filaments dilated at the apex, anthers uniform; ovary sessile or stipitate, ovules 1–12, style filiform, straight or bent, glabrous, stigma capitate. Pod small, ovoid to linear, often membranous, usually indehiscent; seeds globose or reniform, usually 1 or 2, rarely to 10, lacking a conspicuous aril.
About 300 species, almost cosmopolitan (but not native in Australia); c. 38 species naturalised in Australia.
Many species of clover are cultivated as pasture plants, most of them becoming naturalised at least nearby, often on disturbed sites such as roadsides and paddocks.