Mém. Mus. Hist. Nat. 4 (1818) 48
Sympodial terrestrial plants, with or without subterranean tubers. Stem short or elongated, few-leaved. Leaves sheathing at the base, glabrous, persistent, convolute, herbaceous. Inflorescence terminal, a few- to many-flowered raceme. Flowers small, resupinate, in Asian species white or green. Sepals free. Petals free, strongly oblique. Lip spurred, not mobile, usually entire. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, sectile, caudicles present, stipe absent, viscidium present. Stigma with a single, more or less concave surface.
Temperate Europe, Asia, and North America, North Africa, continental Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea. About 40 species; in New Guinea about 3 species.
Terrestrial in open montane forest and subalpine grassland.
Differs from Habenaria and Peristylus in the structure of the stigma, as the stigma-lobes are adjacent and concave, not on separate processes. The New Guinea species are inconspicuous terrestrial mountain herbs with small green flowers.