Tribe Cranichideae (Lindl.) Endl., Man. Bat. Suppl., 2,18 (1842).
Terrestrial or lithophytic herbs, rarely epiphytic, with fleshy roots, clustered or scattered along a thick fleshy rhizome, or with tubers in sub tribe Pterostylidinae. Leaves convolute, not plicate, fleshy, spirally arranged on erect part of stem or in a basal rosette. Inflorescence terminal, erect, one- to many-flowered, racemose, often pubescent or glandular; bracts persistent.
Flowers resupinate or rarely non- resupinate, usually small, often rather tubular and not opening widely. Sepals usually sub similar, the laterals often slightly oblique at the base, basally fused in same “Pterostylidinae”. Petals usually thinner in texture than the petals, often adnate to the dorsal sepal to form a hood. Labellum semi rigid or motile, entire, bipartite or tripartite, basally entire, saccate or spurred, the spur free or more or less adnate to the ovary, often internally furnished on the basal sides with papillae or other outgrowths.
Column short to elongate, foot present or absent; gynostemium usually short and massive; stigma entire or bipartite, oval or elliptic, concave or flat; rostellum elongate, beak-like in many species, acute or truncate; viscidium membranous to multilayered; tegula (if present) lamellar; hamulus fleshy in same genera; anther with a short filament, erect, cordate to oblong-cordate,. two-chambered; pollinia two or four, attenuate toward the apex, powdery and sectile or firm; pollen grains in monads or tetrads; staminodes wing-like, thin or relatively thick, fused with the filament and margins of the stigma, forming a distinct dorsal clinandrium. Ovary twisted or not.
Seeds of Goodyera-type.