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Shrubs or small trees with short-shoots terminated by spines or composed of many persistent fused stipules and (sometimes) bracts. Leaves bipinnate, rachis and pinnae with extrafloral nectaries; Inflorescences of axillary spikes solitary or clustered. Flowers pentamerous; Petals ± united below. Stamens 10, free, all fertile in bisexual flowers; Ovary solitary. Seeds ovoid to e lipsoid, ± compressed, deep-brown, glossy, with pleurogram, wingless, aril and endosperm absent;


Africa present, Asia present, Asia-Tropical: India present; Jawa (Jawa present); Lesser Sunda Is. present, Burma present, Madagascar present, N Australia present
About 12 species, in Africa and Madagascar (numerous), one species with three subspecies extending its range to Asia: India, Burma, Malesia (Java, Lesser Sunda Islands), to N Australia.


Lewis & Elias [in ] reassessed the limits of this genus towards the closely related genera Gagnebina, Desmanthus, and Neptunia.


Brenan & Brummitt - in Bol. Soc. Brot. 1965: 61
Benth. - in J. Bot. 1842: 353
Hutch. - in Gen. Fl. Pl. 1964: 291
W. & A. - in Trans. Linn. Soc. 1875: 382
Brenan, Fl. Trop. E. Afr., Leg.-Mim. 1959: 36
W. & A. - in Fl. Zamb. 1970: 37