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Trees, shrubs, climbers, very rarely herbs. Leaves mostly compound, pinnate or bipinnate, pinnae and leaflets 1-many pairs, rarely simple or unifoliate, stipules paired, minute to large, foliaceous, mostly caducous, stipels present or absent. Inflorescence of axillary or terminal panicles, rarely leaf-opposed racemes. Flowers zygomorphic, rarely actinomorphic, mostly bisexual. Fruit a pod or indehiscent drupaceous and samaroid. Seeds sometimes arillate, rarely with endosperm, embryo large.

Key to the Genus

Serial Key Reference
1a. Leaves simple, bilobed Bauhinia
1b. Leaves compound 2
2a. Leaves unipinnate 3
2b. Leaves bipinnate 10
3a. Calyx segments petaloid, petals absent Saraca
3b. Calyx segments not petaloid, petals present 4
4a. Petals 3; stamens 3, monadelphous Tamarindus
4b. Petals 5; stamens more than 3, free 5
5a. Stamens jointed at the base to form a short tube. Flowers with coloured bracts and bracteoles Brownea
5b. Stamens not jointed at the base 6
6a. Stamens equal, all perfect; anther cells dehiscence by longitudinal slits 7
6b. Stamens unequal 8
7a. Leaves imparipinnate; stamens 8 - 10 Cynometra
7b. Leaves paripinnate; stamens 40- 60 Maniltoa
8a. Petioles and rachis of leaves without glands; stamens 10,filaments of 3 abaxialantisepalous stamens sigmoidly curved Cassia
8b. Petioles and rachis of leaves with or without glands;stamens 10 or 5 fertile, filaments straight 9
9a. Bracteoles absent; petals subequal; legumes if dehiscent valves not coiling Senna
9b. Bracteoles present; petals unequal; legumes elastically dehiscent, valves coiling Chamaecrista
10a. Stamens 5. Calyx lobes equal; leaves with a distinct main rachis Acrocarpus
10b. Stamens 10 11
11a. Leaves with a short spinescent short rachis. Leaflets sinuate, pod turgid Parkinsonia
11b. Leaves with a distinct main rachis 12
12b. Large deciduous trees. Flowers more than 7 cm in diameter, pod 20 – 40 seeded Delonix
13a. Shrubs, small trees or woody climbers 13
13b. Pod winged on both sutures Peltophorum