Perennial shrubs (in Victoria) and annual herbs; stems usually pubescent; hairs medifixed, appressed, basifixed hairs often also present. Leaves alternate, simple, imparipinnate (in Victoria) or 1–3-foliolate; leaflets entire, usually opposite; stipules small, sometimes spinescent. Inflorescences axillary racemes or spikes, pedunculate; flowers red (not in Victoria), pink or purple, rarely white; bract generally caducous; bracteoles absent; calyx at first campanulate (in Victoria), obconical or urceolate, teeth 5, subequal or lower 3 longer; standard obovate or orbicular, sessile or clawed; wings slightly adhering to keel; keel erect, obtuse (in Victoria) or acuminate; stamens diadelphous, upper stamen free, lower 9 connate by their filaments, anthers apiculate, equal; ovary usually pubescent; ovules 1, 2 or many, style glabrous, stigma capitate. Pod globose to linear-terete (in Victoria), septate between seeds, dehiscent; seeds several.
About 700 species, almost cosmopolitan but mainly in tropical and subtropical regions; c. 35 species in Australia (mostly endemic).