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1845, introduced by John Lindley in "School Botanty," from Modern Latin Orchideæ (Linnaeus), the plant's family name, from Latin orchis, a kind of orchid, from Greek orkhis (genitive orkheos) "orchid," literally "testicle," from PIE *orghi-, the standard root for "testicle" (cf. Avestan erezi "testicles," Armenian orjik, Middle Irish uirgge, Irish uirge "testicle," Lithuanian erzilas "stallion"). The plant so called because of the shape of its root. Earlier in English in Latin form, orchis (1560s), and in Middle English it was ballockwort (c.1300; see ballocks). Marred by extraneous -d- in an attempt to extract the Latin stem.
any of nearly 1,000 genera and more than 22,000 species of attractively flowered plants distributed throughout the world, especially in wet tropics. Orchidaceae is a member of Asparagales, an order of monocotyledonous flowering plants that also includes the asparagus and iris families. The word orchid is derived from the Greek word (orchis) for testicle because of the shape of the root tubers in some species of the genus Orchis. These nonwoody perennial plants are generally terrestrial or epiphytic herbs (i.e., growing on other plants rather than rooted in soil). Those attached to other plants often are vinelike and have a spongy root covering called the velamen that absorbs water from the surrounding air. Most species manufacture their own food, but some live on dead organic material (saprophytic) or are helped to obtain nourishment by a fungus living in their roots