The name of this genus dates back to the time, when the genus was not seperated from the genus Orchis. This only happened from the beginning to the middle of the last century. Most species prefer moist locations, only a few species are habitants of forests and meadows. In the genus Dactylorhiza are predominant pink to red coloured flowers, often with loop-shaped drawings on the lip, rarer yellow or almost white colourings are to be found. In total, circa 60 species are native in Europe, which are partly only difficult to distinguish. The discrimination is also complicated by the common propensity for hybridization, which partly can lead to greater hybrid swarms on a location.