Geophila is found worldwide in moist tropical regions, and includes about 20 species of creeping herbs with generally ovate to reniform leaves; terminal capitate to congested-cymose inflorescences generally borne on well developed peduncles; rather small flowers with 5 calyx lobes, corolla lobes, and stamens; white generally salverform corollas with the lobes valvate in bud; and small drupaceous fruits with 2 pyrenes that are planoconvex and sometimes longitudinally twisted. Until recently Geophila was considered to include two species in Madagascar, Geophila repens, which is apparently rare, and the more commonly collected species Geophila gerrardii (e.g., Bremekamp 1983, with the genus there called Carinta). However the systematic analyses of Razafimandimbison et al. (2014) recently found that these two species are not closely related. These analyses found Geophila gerrardii to be more closely related to the African genus , and this species was separated into a new, monotypic, endemic Malagasy genus, Puffia.
Geophila repens has long been circumscribed as a single species found in tropical regions around the world, and considered one of the most widely distributed species of Rubiaceae. However the analyses of Razafimandimbison et al. (2014) found that within Geophila repens, the Neotropical plants are distinct from the Paleotropical plants. The name Geophila repens corresponds to the Neotropical plants, and apparently the oldest available name for the Paleotropical plants, including those from Madagascar, is Geophila uniflora.