Sp. Pl. 4(1): 5, 44. 1805.
Herbs perennial, terrestrial or semiaquatic, often rather succulent. Roots scattered along basal portion of stem, both slender and tuberous, fleshy; tuberoids usually spheroid. Stems: leaves basal, abruptly reduced to bracts or scattered, gradually reduced toward inflorescence. Leaves several, alternate, ascending to spreading, conduplicate, bases sheathing stem. Inflorescences terminal, lax to rather dense spicate racemes; bracts large and foliaceous to reduced. Flowers few to many, resupinate, pedicellate, sometimes showy; petals 2-lobed, lateral lobe on abaxial margin; lip 3-lobed, spurred at base; pollinaria 2; pollinia 2; viscidia free; stigma with 2 fleshy processes flanking or encircling mouth of spur. Fruits capsules, ellipsoid.
Species ca. 600 (4 in the flora).
A recently identified species, Habenaria macroceratitis, is described but not fully treated here.
|1||Lateral lobes of lip and petals greatly reduced; lip hastate-auriculate; petals auriculate on abaxial margin.||Habenaria odontopetala|
|1||Lateral lobes of lip and petals prominently filiform, nearly equal to or exceeding other lobes; lip conspicuously 3-lobed; petals conspicuously 2-lobed.||> 2|
|2||Spur more than 4 cm (often much more).||Habenaria quinqueseta|
|2||Spur at most 2 cm (often much shorter).||> 3|
|3||Leaves basal, spreading, broadly elliptic to ovate or obovate; spur slenderly clavate.||Habenaria distans|
|3||Leaves scattered along length of stem, ascending, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, narrowly elliptic, or oblanceolate; spur slenderly cylindric to scarcely clavate.||Habenaria repens|