Origin: L, fr. Gr. A testicle, the orchis; so called from its tubers.

1. <botany> A genus of endogenous plants growing in the North Temperate zone, and consisting of about eighty species. They are perennial herbs growing from a tuber (beside which is usually found the last year's tuber also), and are valued for their showy flowers. See Orchidaceous.

2. <botany> Any plant of the same family with the orchis; an orchid.

The common names, such as bee orchis, fly orchis, butterfly orchis, etc, allude to the peculiar form of the flower.

(01 Mar 1998)

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