Also Vanilla Orchids are plants of the high mountains. The 15 – 20 species are to be found in alpine, mostly calcareous neglected grasslands in Central Europe. The Vanilla Orchids are rather delicate orchids. They have a pyramidal to elongated inflorescence, which consists of numerous, small, mostly reddish singular flowers. The Vanilla Orchids genus is one of the few orchid genera, where the ovary is not rotated by 180°, so that the lip points upwards.
Recently, according to new molecular biological analyses the Vanilla Orchids are ascribed by some botanists to the genus Gymnadenia. A further argument for this reclassification is the fact, that Vanilla Orchids often build hybrids with Gymnadenia conopsea and Gymnadenia odoratissima.