The genus Platanthera belongs to the subfamily Orchidoideae of the family Orchidaceae, and comprises about 100 species of orchids. The members of this genus, known as the butterfly orchids or fringed orchids, were previously included in the genus Orchis, which is a close relative (along with the genus Habenaria). They are distributed throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are terrestrial and have tubercules.

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