Terrestrial or occasionally lithophytic herbs. Rhizome creeping, terete, of few to many internodes of equal length. Stem with a few clustered subrosulate leaves. Leaves with a short-petiolate base dilating into a tubular amplexicaul sheath; lamina green to blackish in colour, usually with white to golden coppery venation. Inflorescence pubescent; floral bracts subequal to equal the pedicel plus ovary in length. Flowers resupinate or rarely non-resupinate, pubescent on the outer surface of the sepals. Lateral sepals free, often spreading, similar to dorsal sepaL Petals membranous, obliquely ligulate-oblong to elliptic. Labellum spur conical to cylindric, entire or bilobed apically, containing a cylindric- obconical to carunculate appendage on each side; hypochile semi-tubular, sides erect, subquadrate when spread; mesochile short to elongate, tubular, each side with entire, pectinate or filamentous fringes; epichile entire to bilobed, lobules rarely bilobed. Column dilated dorsally; anther erect, ovoid to ovoidlanciform; pollinia sectile, clavate, attenuated into coherent stalks that attach to a small ovate viscidium; rostellum deltoid, remnant short-bifid; stigma lobes separate, placed laterally near apical corners of column; column wings two, intramarginal, lamellate to fleshy, often dilated posteriorly into short to long, fleshy, dactyliform, decurrent extensions. Ovary pubescent, twisted. (PO, PC).
Anoectochilus species are forest floor terrestrials, growing in soil, leaf litter, and humus and also on mossy rocks in lowland and mid-montane forests up to 2135 m. Plants are sometimes hard to locate because their leaf colouring mimics dead leaves so well, and often only the presence of flowers gives them away. (PO, PC).
Anoectochilus jormosanus Hayata is used as a medicinal herb in Taiwan (Lin 1978). Averyanov et al. (2000) mentioned that Anoectochilus calcareus Aver., A. setaceus, and other species are collected in Vietnam and China for use in traditional medicine. Lawler (1984) cited similar uses for A. regalis Blume in Sri Lanka. These species were popular horticultural subjects in the midand late nineteenth century and also in the early twentieth century. Though less commonly seen these days, they are still grown occasionally. (PO, PC).