Lindl. (1836)

This name is accepted

Kingdom: Viridiplantae Phylum: Magnoliophyta Class/Clade: Eudicot-Rosids Order: Fabales Family: Fabaceae Genus:


Key Characters:

Growth Form: Trees, shrubs, lianas, vines, or herbs.


Roots: Often bearing root nodules that harbor nitrogen fixing bacteria.

Leaves: Leaves simple, unifoliate, or compound (palmate or trifoliate). Leaves alternate or rarely opposite. Petioles and petiolules often with a basal pulvinus that governs its orientation, sometimes pulvinus present but not functional. Stipules present, usually distinct, sometimes modified into spines. Leaflet stipels often present.

Flowers: Flowers usually in racemes or panicles or in pseudoracemes (i.e. flowers in clusters on a shortened axis, these in racemose inflorescences), heads, or otherwise racemosely arranged inflorescences. Flowers usually bisexual (perfect), unisexual in some species. Plants have flowers of one of the following flower types: caesalpinaceous (slightly zygomorphic, bracteoles present or absent, upper petal overlapped by others in bud, all petals usually spreading, stamens 10 or fewer, sometimes numerous, usually distinct), or papilionaceous [zygomorphic, bracteoles usually present, upper petal (standard) overlapping others in bud and spreading, with 2 lateral wing petals that cover and are often connate to the lower 2 keel petals, which are usually connate along their lower margin, stamens usually 10, distinct, or often 9 connate into a tube and 1 distinct or coherent, sometimes all connate], or mimosaceous (actinomorphic, bracteoles absent, petals valvate, distinct or connate, stamens 5 to numerous, distinct or connate). Calyx 5-lobed, in some genera the upper 2 connate and hence Calyx appearing 4-lobed. Corolla of (0–)5(6) petals; petals, usually distinct or variously connate. Stamens few to numerous, usually 10, in a single whorl; filaments distinct or connate. Ovary superior nearly always consisting of a solitary carpel, rarely 2 or more, superior, usually stipitate and fusiform, 1-celled or lomented, placentation parietal; ovules 1 to numerous, if 2 or more, then serially arranged along the placenta, if 1, then usually inserted near middle, campylotropous, anatropous, or hemitropous; style 1, apical; stigma simple or rarely 2 lobed.

Fruit: Fruit a legume (referred to as pods hereafter); usually dry; in a few genera drupaceous; often elastically dehiscent along both sutures or indehiscent; or breaking transversely into 1–seeded joints (articles); occasionally irregularly breaking up or samaroid. Seeds 1 to numerous; usually with hard impervious seed coat; often with various sorts of valves to facilitate desiccation; such as horse–shoe–shaped pleurograms in Caesalpinioideae and Mimosoideae or a closed areole as in Senna; endosperm scanty or absent; embryo large.



Elevation Range:

Historical Distribution

Distribution maps coming soon.

Accepted Subtaxa (in Hawai'i) (266)

Uses and Culture


Natural History

Island Status

Dispersal Agents



  • Description digitized by Ashley Wilson
  • Description digitized by Medicago sativa L.
  • Description digitized from the Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawaii
  • First collected on LAna'i in 1929
  • The hilum is elongated and extends less than 1/2 the circumference of the seed. The pseudoracemes up to 16 cm long. The pods of the canavalia cathartica are not articulate. Their pods contain at least one seed per pod and if a pod has one seed the ovules are usually more than one. Additionally the seeds are more than 14 mm long.


Name Published In: Intr. Nat. Syst. Bot., ed. 2. 148. 1836 [13 Jun 1836] (1836)


SNo. Scientific Name Scientific Name Authorship Locality Habitat Basis of Record Recorded By Record Number Island Source Date