The optical and structural properties of binary and ternary III-V nanowires including GaAs, InP, In(Ga)As, Al(Ga)As, and GaAs(Sb) nanowires by metal-organic chemical vapour deposition are investigated. Au colloidal nanoparticles are employed to catalyze nanowire growth. Zinc blende or wurtzite crystal structures with some stacking faults are observed for these nanowires by high resolution transmission electron microscope. In addition, the properties of heterostructure nanowires including GaAs-AlGaAs core-shell nanowires, GaAs-InAs nanowires, and GaAs-GaSb nanowires are reported. Single nanowire luminescence properties from optically bright InP nanowires are reported. Interesting phenomena such as two-temperature procedure, nanowire height enhancement of isolated ternary InGaAs nanowires, kinking effect of InAs-GaAs heterostructure nanowires, and unusual growth property of GaAs-GaSb heterostructure nanowires are investigated. These nanowires will play an essential role in future optoelectronic devices.