How did orchids get their names? Epiphytes or parasites?

Most orchids have appropriate names, for example in the epiphytic genera Dendrobium and Epidendrum – both names come from the ancient Greek word dendron and mean ‘growing on trees’. But some orchids bear a name that seems very wrong, even insulting. In past centuries, epiphytic orchids were often called ‘parasites’. Are they? No! But are there parasitic orchids? Yes!

Gab van Winkel
gab.vanwinkel@gmail.com
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