Leafless, saprophytic herb lacking chlorophyll; rhizome tuberous.Scape erect with a few basal sheaths; inflorescence terminal.Tepals free, subequal; lip spurred, concave with verrucose crests.Column and anther short; pollinia 2, sectile, each with a slender, curved caudicle and a single broad viscidium.Stigma broad, prominent; rostellum absent.Capsule ovoid, pendulous, developing quickly.
Leafless, achlorophyllose, saprophytic herbs with scape arising from tuberous rhizome. Scape simple, erect, with a few basal sheaths. Inflorescence terminal, lax. Flowers pedicellate. Tepals subequal, free. Lip wider than tepals, spurred, concave, with finely warted crests. Column short; anther short, broad; pollinia 2, sectile, each with a slender curved caudicle attached to a single broad viscidium; stigma prominent, broad; rostellum absent. Capsule ovoid, pendulous.
Holomycotrophic, terrestrial herbs. Rhizome tuberous or obscure but with coralloid roots, covered in root hairs. Stem erect, lacking chlorophyll. Leaves reduced to buff or whitish scales. Inflorescence racemose, ephemeral, lasting about 10 days before withering, rachis terete. Flowers pendent, non-resupinate or resupinate, often self-pollinating. Sepals and petals subsimilar, connivent or spreading, free, lanceolate. Labellum sessile, entire, with a 2–6-rowed lamellate, papillose, or bearded longitudinal callus, spur basal, shorter than labellum. Column fleshy, clinandrium membranous; anther incumbent, pollinia two, granulose, clavate, deeply dissected, with slender caudicles and small viscidia; rostellum broad. Ovary ellipsoidal, ribbed.
Epipogium grows in a wide range of habitats that have sufficient rainfall and accumulations of organic material in the soil to sustain the mycorrhizal fungus associated with the subterranean rhizomes. Species of the genus are most frequently found in dense to open forest but sometimes also occur in grassland. Inflorescences emerge after a period of heavy rain and mature within a matter of days (Docters van Leeuwen 1937; Jones 1988). Individual colonies tend to persist at the same location for only a few years, and their rapid flowering and seed set means they are often overlooked by collectors.