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Herbs or shrubs with laterally attached hairs. Leaves odd-pinnate, rarely unifoliolate; leaflets entire; stipules small; stipels setaceous or absent. Flowers reddish or purplish in axillary spikes or racemes; bracts caducous; bracteoles absent. Sepals 5, connate, campanulate, teeth subequal. Petals caducous, standard ovate sessile or clawed, wings oblong, slightly adnate to erect keels. Stamens 9+1, vexillary free, anthers uniform, apiculate. Ovary sessile, styles beardless. Fruit a pod, globose, oblong or linear, 1-seeded, straight or curved, 3-4 angled, septate. Seeds globose, truncate, compressed or quadrate.

Key to the species

Serial Key Reference
1a. Prostrate to suberect herbs. Leaves pubescent on both sides, pods 1-4 seeded I. linnaei
1b. Shrubs of 1-4 m high 2
2a. Leaves with adpressed hairs on both surfaces. Pods with beak I. zollingeriana
2b. Leaves glabrous above, pubescent or glaucous beneath 3
3a. Pods curved, leaflets apiculate at apex I. suffruticosa
3b. Pods linear, leaflets acute, obtuse or rounded at apex 4
4a. Leaflets 15-25; pods 6-8 cm, 15-18 seeded I. galegoides
4b. Leaflets 7-13; pods 2-4 cm long, 8-12 seeded I. tinctoria