The genus Cochleanthes is made up of fifteen species of orchids which originate from South America. The name Cochleanthes refers to the shape of the flower (in Greek, cochlos means "shell" and anthos means "flower").
Plants of this genus produce single-flowered inflorescences, with the flowers often being quite large for the size of the plant, and occurring at any time of the year, though slightly more concentrated during summer in cultivation. All members of this genus have their flowers dominated by the large labellum (lip) which often has longitudinal markings upon it which serve as a nectar guide for pollinating insects. The flowers have four pollinia.
Cochleanthes is best kept under intermediate conditions with fairly high humidity, and should never be allowed to dry out. Plants are epiphytes and grow at elevations of up to 1500 metres in cloud forests.