Climbers (Podranea and Macfadyena), trees or shrubs. Stipules 0, but pseudostipules present in Markhamia. Leaves opposite (rarely in whorls of 3 in Kigelia), usually compound, i.e. 2-pinnate, imparipinnately 1-pinnate or 3-foliolate with the terminal leaflet sometimes (Macfadyena) a tendril or rarely simple. Flowers zygomorphic, often showy. Calyx gamosepalous, usually with 5 teeth or lobes. Corolla gamopetalous, with a tube and 5 lobes.Stamens usually 4, didynamous, with 1 staminode. Ovary superior, 2-locular. Style 1, terminal. Fruit usually a dehiscent capsule (often elongated) except in Kigelia which has indehiscent fruits. Seeds numerous, winged, except in Kigelia.