Herbs, annual [perennial]. Stems unbranched or sparsely [profusely] branched ; glabrous or glandular-pubescent. Leaves: stipules absent; petiole with pulvinus basally or distally, (petiolule base adnate, forming pulvinar disc; leaflets 3 or 5-9. Inflorescences terminal or axillary (from distal leaves), racemes (flat-topped or elongated); bracts present. Flowers (often appearing unisexual due to incomplete development), zygomorphic; sepals persistent or deciduous, distinct, equal (each often subtending a nectary); petals equal; stamens 6; filaments inserted on a discoid or conical androgynophore, usually glabrous; anthers coiling as pollen is released; gynophore recurved in fruit. Fruits capsules, dehiscent, oblong. Seeds 10-30+, subglobose [reniform], not arillate, (cleft fused between ends). x = 12. Segregation of Cleoserrata from Tarenaya is based on the absence of prickles on the minutely serrulate leaf, the x = 12 chromosomal complement, and molecular evidence suggesting a more basal clade than that of Tarenaya (L. A. Inda et al. 2008).
Species 5 (2 in the flora): introduced; Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America.