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Caesalpinioideae is a botanical name at the rank of subfamily, placed in the large family Fabaceae or Leguminosae. Its name is formed from the generic name Caesalpinia. It is known also as the peacock flower subfamily.[4] The Caesalpinioideae are mainly trees distributed in the moist tropics, but include such temperate species as the honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus). It has the following clade-based definition:

In some classifications, for example the Cronquist system, the group is recognized at the rank of family, Caesalpiniaceae.

Distinguishing characters:

  • Specialised extrafloral nectaries often present on the petiole and / or on the primary and secondary rachises, usually between pinnae or leaflet pairs
  • Leaves commonly bipinnate
  • Inflorescences globose, spicate
  • Aestivation valvate
  • Anthers often with a stipitate or sessile apical gland
  • Pollen commonly in tetrads, bitetrads or polyads
  • Seeds usually with an open or closed pleurogram on both faces
  • Root nodules variably present and indeterminate


  • Caesalpinieae Clade


Caesalpinioideae, as it was traditionally circumscribed, was paraphyletic. Several molecular phylogenies in the early 2000s showed that the other two subfamilies of Fabaceae (Faboideae and Mimosoideae) were both nested within Caesalpinioideae.[6][7][8][9] Consequently, the subfamilies of Fabaceae were reorganized to make them monophyletic.[5] Caesalpinioideae, as currently defined, contains the following subclades:[5]

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