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What is the scientific name for an orchid?

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Quick Answer

The scientific name for the orchid family of plants is Orchidaceae. Any plant that is considered an orchid may also be called an orchis, especially if it belongs to the genus within Orchidaceae called Orchis.

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Full Answer

Orchidaceae is an enormous subdivision of the flowering plant group, with over 20,000 named species. The type genus, to which all other members of Orchidaceae are compared, is Orchis. The name "Orchis" comes from the Greek word, "orkhis", for testicle. This surprisingly lewd name for these plants refers to the shape of their roots. Orchids form bulbs from which they can grow after the above-ground parts of the plant have been removed or withered.

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