Subtribe Goodyerinae Klotzsch in Hayne, Getreue Darstell. Gew. 14: t. 24. 1846.
Perennial, terrestrial, occasionally lithophytic and rarely epiphytic herbs. Roots usually fleshy, sometimes moniliform, hairy, emerging from the nodes of the rhizome, rarely absent and replaced by rhizoids; if present, velamen Calanthe-type.
Rhizome creeping, terete to moniliform, short to elongate, of few too many internodes of equal length, rarely abbreviated. Stem erect, terete, few- to many-Ieaved, rarely leafless.
Leaves sessile or with a petiolate base dilating into a tubular amplexicaul sheath at the base, rarely reduced to sheaths and then lacking chlorophyll; lamina obliquely lanceolate to sub circular, green, purple or almost black, sometimes veined or spotted with white, yellow or red. Inflorescence a terminal, erect raceme, glabrous, glandular, or pubescent; peduncle usually with a few close to scattered sheathing bracts; floral bracts lanceolate to ovate, glandular, pubescent, or glabrous.
Flowers resupinate or rarely non-resupinate, glabrous, the outer surfaces of the sepals glandular or pubescent. Sepals usually free to base, rarely connate far part of their length.
Dorsal sepal concave, often farming a hood with the petals. Lateral sepals free or fused, often oblique at base, lower hale dilated, enclosing sides and base of labellum. Petals free or fused, sessile to short-clawed, often hyaline, entire, usually with upper margin adnate to the dorsal sepal. Labellum usually fleshy, attached to the base and usually to the lower margins of the column, entire, bilobed or tripartite; hypochile concave, saccate or spurred, sometimes with a fleshy external flange, internal appendages (when present) entire to digitate, stalked or sessile, one to few an each side, rarely scattered over inner surface, sometimes with two longitudinal keels within; mesochile (if present) claw-like, fringed or not; epichile sessile or clawed, small to large, linear, ovate, lunate or transversely bilobed; spur (if present) entire or bilobed, tapering, cylindrical or clavate.
Column short to long, sessile or stalked; anther usually erect, biloculate; pollinia two, bipartite or rarely entire, sectile, usually clavate, attenuated into short to elongate caudicles; clinandrium usually deeply concave; rostellum short to elongate, erect to porrect, often deltoid, slightly emarginate to deeply bifid, in some genera carrying a distinct, dorsal, tegular stipe; stigma lobes free or connate under base of rostellum, sometimes subtended by one or two sterile appendages. Ovary cylindric-fusiform, glabrous, glandular or pubescent, twisted or not.
Capsule usually cylindric-fusiform, dehiscent.