Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.



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).


Hutchinson, J. The Genera of Flowering Plants, vol. 1. Oxford, 1964.
References in periodicals archive ?
Considering the disputed taxonomic status of the tribe Swartzieae, it is interesting to note that its longicorn guild shows some resemblance to guilds associated with both the Caesalpiniaceae and the Fabaceae.
Several distinct guilds can be recognized within Caesalpiniaceae and Fabaceae.
The group is commonly divided into three families (sometimes considered subfamilies): The Mimosaceae are characterized by regular flowers; the Caesalpiniaceae usually have regular to irregular flowers in which the lateral petals are internal to the abaxial petals prior to anthesis, and erect embryonic seeds; the Fabaceae have irregular flowers in which the lateral petals are external to the abaxial ones, and they possess curved embryonic seeds.
As this species was not observed in any other group of legumes, this could point to some chemical similarities among the Caesalpiniaceae and the Swartzieae.
Only one cerambycid, Lissonotus equestris, was found in another tribe of the Caesalpiniaceae, in Macrolobium in the tribe Amherstieae.
The major morphological trend within the Fabales (also known as the Leguminosae) is from a woody habit in the mainly tropical species of the Mimosaceae and Caesalpiniaceae families to the predominantly herbaceous forms in the subtropical or temperate Fabaceae family (Papilionaceae) (Cronquist, 1988).
Nodulation is general in the Mimosaceae and Fabaceae but rare in the Caesalpiniaceae (Sprent & Embrapa, 1980; Polhill & Raven, 1981).