Annual or perennial climbing herbs; stems sometimes winged. Leaves alternate, paripinnate or subdigitate, rarely reduced to a bristle or grass-like phyllode, usually parallel-veined; terminal leaflet (when present) modified to 1 or more tendrils (in Victoria); lateral leaflets (when present) 2–16 (2 in Victoria); stipules entire, rarely toothed (not in Victoria), leafy. Inflorescence an axillary raceme or a single-flower; bracts narrow, often caducous; bracteoles absent. Calyx campanulate, regular or 2-lipped, teeth equal or unequal. Petals white, pink or purple; standard broad, shortly clawed; wings shorter, free or sometimes joined to keel; keel shortest, obtuse. Stamens diadelphous (in Victoria) or monodelphous, upper one free or connate with the tube; anthers uniform. Ovary subsessile or stipitate; ovules 2–many; style inflexed, dorsally compressed, pubescent on upper side, rarely glabrous; stigma terminal or capitate. Pod compressed, upper suture sometimes 2-winged, dehiscent or seldom indehiscent; seeds 2–many, more or less globose, exarillate.
About 130 species, almost cosmopolitan but mostly in temperate regions; 7 species naturalised in Australia.