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Lindley (1836) and even Garay (1986)  used to treat it as a separate family Vanillaceae. But their single, incumbent anther and poorly organised pollinia led to their recognition as at best a subgroup of monandrous orchids. But, from a molecular point of view, this clade is rather a sister to subfamily Epidendroideae and subfamily Orchidoideae in the Orchidaceae, and thus it is today also considered a subfamily.
Their distribution is pantropical, throughout Asia, Australia and the Americas.
The species in the tribe Pogonieae have a characteristic laciniate lip margin. The color of their petals and sepals is pink or rarely white or bluish. Their sepals have an oblong, elliptic, or narrowly lanceolate form.
Tribe Pogonieae (77 species)
Tribe Vanilleae (172 species)
- Genera : Clematepistephium, Cyrtosia, Dictyophyllaria, Epistephium, Eriaxis, Erythrorchis, Galeola, Lecanorchis, Pseudovanilla and Vanilla.
- Garay,L. (1986) , Olim Vanillaceae. Botanical Museum Leaflets. Harvard University 30 : 233-237.
- Pridgeon, Alec M.; Cribb, Phillip J.; Chase, Mark.W; Rasmussen, Finn.N - Genera Orchidacearum: Orchidoideae Vanilloideae - Oxford University Press 2003 - ISBN 0-19-850711-9