The genus of Fragrant Orchids has a North Atlantic and Eurasian distribution. Concerning nomenclature and differentiation to closely related genera is still great uncertainty. The ‚hard‘ core of this genus consists of Gymnadenia conopsea and Gymnadenia odoratissima, two species, which are also native in Germany and easily to differentiate. Gymnadenia conopsea is greater and has some greater flowers and a distinct longer spure. Furthermore exists a dense flowering variant of Gymnadenia conopsea with numerous flowers and a distinct longer inflorescence, which is to be found in fens, namely Gymnadenia conopsea var. densiflora.
Furthermore, in Balkan mountains is to be found Gymnadenia frivaldii, which partly has been attributed to the genus Leucorchis. However, recently the genera Leucorchis and Nigritella are integrated into the genus Gymnadenia. Especially the former Leucorchis albida plays an important role as link to the genus Platanthera, with witch the Fragrant Orchis should to be closely related. In addition, it has been known for a long time, that Fragrant Orchids and Vanilla Orchids have a close relationship. Hybrids between these genera are in the Alps absolutely not rare.