They grow up to 60–80 cm in height. The colour of the flower is very variable: from light pink to dark violet, from white to yellow. The flowers, which are in a dense inflorescence, are smaller than in other Orchidaceae. The flower labium is diamond-shaped and with broken-back side lobes.
Early marsh orchids grow in damp and light habitats, for example in damp and marshy meadows or bogs.
Under protection (protection category III).