Perennial herbs (in Victoria), shrubs or rarely small trees. Leaves alternate, pinnately trifoliolate, sometimes 1- or 5-foliolate (rarely so in Victoria); stipules striate, scarious; stipellae present. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary raceme or cluster; flowers usually paired or in 3s (at least in Victoria); bracts simple, sometimes caducous. Calyx tube short, teeth unequal, upper 2 more or less fused and longer than lower 3; petals white, pink, bluish, purple or mauve; standard oblong to orbicular, clawed; wings oblong, usually joined to centre of keel; keel obtuse; stamens diadelphous (upper stamen more or less free in Victoria) or sometimes monadelphous; anthers uniform; ovary sometimes sessile, ovules 2 or more, style incurved or inflexed. Pod elongate, transversely jointed, separating into 1-seeded articles, articles 1–8, usually indehiscent; seeds rarely arillate.
About 450 species, mostly in tropical and subtropical regions; c. 30 species in Australia (mostly endemic).