The Butterfly Orchid is with circa 100 species in the northern hemisphere nativ. In Asia, their main area, is also the southern hemisphere settled. In all are in Europe 11 species, subspecies and variants nativ, therefrom also two species in Germany. These are easy to distinguish. The most sure distinguishing feature is the orientation of the anthers each other. By the Lesser Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera bifolia) are these parallel, by the Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha) diverge these downwards. In addition, the first mentioned species has a long, cylindric spure, whereas Platanthera chlorantha has a spure, which is flattened on its end. The genus Platanthera should be closely related with the genus Gymnadenia.
The Lesser Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera bifolia) was chosen as the orchid of the year 2011 to attract the attention to the decrease of unfertilized meadows.