About 100 species of annuals, perennials and shrubs from the northern temperate zone but mainly in western U.S.A., Europe and Macronesia. They produce alternate, trifoliate, or pinnate leaves and axillary umbels of pea flowers having distinctively beaked keels.
The hardy species are suitable for the rock garden, the tender species need an alpine house with sufficient heat to prevent freezing of the compost. Ordinary well drained soil and a sunny site are required. Propagation by seed in spring or cuttings in late spring or late summer.