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a family of dicotyledonous plants (sometimes considered to be a subfamily—Caesalpinioideae—united with the subfamilies Papilionoideae and Mimosoideae in the family Leguminosae). The plants are mostly trees and shrubs with twice-pinnate or simply pinnate leaves. The flowers are mainly irregular but in contrast to typical Leguminosae, not papilionaceous.
There are about 150 genera, comprising as many as 2,800 species. The plants occur mostly in the tropics and subtropics of both hemispheres. The genera Gleditschia and Cercis (which includes the Judas tree) are found in the USSR. Also under cultivation there are the carob and various ornamental species of the genera Cassia and Caesalpinia. Many species yield valuable wood (logwood) and various resins and medicinal substances. The fruits of some species are edible (tamarind, carob).