Climbers or lianes. Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate. Inflorescences axillary. Flowers showy, ranging from white to purple, red to almost black or greenish-yellow. Calyx 4-5-lobed, the upper 2 lobes forming a lip Standard rounded, much shorter than the other petals. 5 larger anthers alternate with 5 short ones. Pods covered with irritant hairs (apart from some cultivated varieties of Mucuna pruriens), usually dehiscent.