Lianas, vines or less often understory shrubs; cross section with a single or multiple vascular cylinders, often producing milky sap. Stipules minute to foliaceous, persistent or deciduous. Leaves alternate, trifoliolate, pinnately 5-7(11)- -foliolate, biternate, triternate, or partially bipinnate. Thyrses solitary or fascicled, axillary, distal, or cauliflorous, racemiform, spicate, or paniculate, with flowers in lateral cincinni or drepania. Flowers zygomorphic; calyx 4-5-merous, the sepals distinct, or the two anterior ones connate to different degrees into a larger sepal; petals 4, distinct, clawed, bearing a hood-shaped appendage, these with a fleshy, yellowish apex, smaller in lateral petals; disc unilateral, 2- or 4-lobed; stamens 8, the filaments of unequal length, usually pubescent; ovary 3-carpellate, the carpels with a single ovule. Fruit a septifragal (marginicidal) capsule, smooth, winged, rugose, or echinate, membranous, crustose, leathery or woody. Seeds usually globose, with a sarcotesta at base, but sometimes covering almost the whole seed.
Guianas: present Neotropical: present Northern America: Southern America: northern Argentina: present tropical Africa: present
A Neotropical genus with ca. 200 species distributed from Mexico to northern Argentina, including the West Indies. One species occurring naturally in tropical Africa. The largest genus of
Sapindaceae in the Guianas with 38 species.