It was first described by Lindley (1829), who divided it into 20 genera.
Since then, several new classifications have been proposed but generally the tribe Dendrobiinae kept its place. Its last classification by Dressler (1993), but with only six genera, was withheld in the APG III classification.
This sub-tribe includes orchids that vary considerably in shape.
In part because of the ease with which hybrids are formed, it is almost impossible to classify this sub-tribe solely on the basis of the morphology.
The classification depends rather on modern genetic research of Dendrobiinae than of morphology.