in Aiton, Hort. Kew. ed. 2, 5 (1813) 197
Sympodial terrestrial plants. Stem elongated, slightly succulent, basal part usually creeping, forming a rhizome, apical part erect, few-leaved. Leaves usually crowded, spirally arranged, sheathing at the base, glabrous, persistent, convolute, green or sometimes brown, sometimes with lighter markings or silvery to golden yellow veins, herbaceous. Inflorescence terminal, a few- to many-flowered raceme. Flowers small, resupinate, green, brownish or white. Sepals free. Petals free, about as long as the dorsal sepal, usually cohering at the apices. Lip without spur, not mobile, the strongly concave basal part inside covered with hair-like papillae; mid-lobe small. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, sectile, caudicles present, stipe absent, viscidium present. Stigma without clearly separated lobes.
Mascarenes, temperate Europe, Asia and North America, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Pacific islands, east to Tonga. About 50 species; in New Guinea c. 15 species.
Terrestrial in lowland and montane forest.
Goodyera gave its name to an alliance of genera called the Goodyerinae. The genera in this alliance, such as Anoectochilus, Macodes, and Zeuxine, are not always easy to distinguish, and many species appear to be rare in the wild. Goodyera is one of the most diverse genera in the Goodyerinae, but it is easily recognised by the single patch of hairs (or elongated papillae) that covers most or all of the inside of the basal concavity of the lip. In the related genera there are either no such hairs, or two clearly separated patches of hairs. The species with beautifully veined leaves are occasionally cultivated, the ones with plain green leaves hardly ever.