Herbs, perennial, terrestrial, apparently epiphytic in one species, photosynthetic to mycotrophic. Roots fleshy, with a few filiform roots from stem base, some terminating in tuberoids. Stems erect, usually simple, terete, succulent, glabrous. Leaves 1-10, alternate and distichous, or solitary at midstem, without stipules, glabrous, sessile, not articulate, clasping stem; blade lance-ovate to ovate, or reduced to sheathing bracts. Inflorescences terminal, solitary or 1-10-flowered racemes, flowers axillary or terminal, arrangement spiral; floral bracts consisting of smaller proximalmost leaves, ovate to cordate, foliose. Flowers resupinate or not, short-pedicellate; sepals and petals distinct and free; dorsal sepal lanceolate to oblanceolate; lateral sepals lanceolate, slightly falcate; petals linear-lanceolate to lanceolate; lip clawed, 3-lobed; disc with 3 lines or crests; column slender, 5-10 mm, footless; anther erect, white or pale green (with magenta margins in Triphora trianthophora), short-stalked, not articulate, rigid; pollinia 2; pollen in tetrads, soft, mealy; ovary fusiform, slender; stigma proximal to anther, entire or 2-lobed; rostellum simple or absent. Fruits capsules, erect or pendent, ellipsoid-ovoid or obovoid, with 6 low, narrow keels. Most species of Triphora exist in small, scattered populations and exhibit synchronous, ephemeral flowering; flowers last only one day. Synchrony enhances the chances for fertilization. Isolated flowers are rarely fertilized.