Description: Annual and perennial herbs with twining stems, rarely erect.
Leaves alternate, pinnately 3-foliolate; lateral leaflets asymmetric; stipules and stipels present.
Inflorescences racemose, axillary; peduncles long; bracts and bracteoles deciduous. Calyx 5-lobed, upper 2 often united. Standard broader than long; keel truncate, obtuse or beaked. Stamens diadelphous; anthers uniform. Ovary with several ovules; style narrowing at base, bearded; stigma terminal.
Pod ± cylindrical, dehiscent, straight or curved; seeds without obvious aril.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 100–150 species, mainly tropical, chiefly Africa & Asia. Australia: c. 10 species (c. 5 species native, other species introduced), all mainland States.
Text by C. Gardner & T. A. James
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Leaflets linear to narrow-lanceolate or narrow-ovate, to 15 mm wide||2|
|Leaflets elliptic to ovate, rhombic or more or less circular, more than 15 mm wide||3|
|2||Stems sparsely to densely hairy with spreading to appressed, more or less bristly rusty-brown hairs; flowers mostly 20–30 mm long; pod 4–14 cm long with spreading bristly hairs||Vigna vexillata|
|Stems glabrous or sparsely hairy with appressed, whitish hairs; flowers 7–10 mm long; pod 2–5 cm long, glabrous or with a few, appressed hairs|
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|3||Leaflets wide-elliptic to more or less circular, apex emarginate or obtuse; confined to coastal dunes and headlands||Vigna marina|
|Leaflets elliptic to rhombic or ovate, apex acute to acuminate (often obtuse in Vigna lanceolata); not confined to coastal dunes and headlands|
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|4||Stipules peltate, ovate, rhombic or obovate, mostly 8–15 mm long; stem hairs conspicuously spreading, yellow-brown, mostly 1–1.5 mm long||Vigna radiata|
|Stipules not peltate, more or less ovate to lanceolate 2–3 mm long; stems glabrous or with appressed to more or less spreading whitish hairs c. 1 mm long|
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|5||Apex of leaflets acute to acuminate, base rounded to cuneate; flowers 12–25 mm long||Vigna luteola|
|Apex of leaflets acute to obtuse, base usually wedge-shaped; flowers 7–10 mm long|
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