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!
How did orchids get their names? Epiphytes or parasites?