-Herbs, shrubs, climbers, and trees;
-leaves alternate pinnate (rarely opposite pinnate), bipinnate, or bi- or trifoliolate (rarely unifoliolate);
-leaflets opposite or alternate, entire, petiolules cylindrical;
-green bean odor in petiole, leaf, and bark;
-flowers bilaterally symmetric with 9-10 stamens or radially symmetric with many exserted stamens;
-fruit a dehiscing pod, rarely indehiscent and fleshy.
Diagnosis: Green bean odor in bark and leaves, bark stringy, free stipules, leaves alternate, compound, ranging from uni- or bifoliate to pinnate or bipinnate, petiolules typically cylindrical, many with nectar glands on petiole or rachis.
Local distribution: Widespread, but more diverse in seasonal lowland habitats.
|Meliaceae||: no stipules, sweet odor.
|Simaroubaceae||: bitter odor and taste, no stipules, leaflets mostly alternate.
Diversity: Total: 30 genera, 74 species. Trees: 10 genera, 24 species.
Comments: Consists of three subfamilies that are often treated as separate families: Caesalpinioideae, Mimosoideae, and Faboideae (Papilionoideae).