AskDefine | Define orchis

Dictionary Definition



1 any of various deciduous terrestrial orchids having fleshy tubers and flowers in erect terminal racemes
2 one of the two male reproductive glands that produce spermatozoa and secrete androgens; "she kicked him in the balls and got away" [syn: testis, testicle, ball, ballock, bollock, nut, egg]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any plant of the genus Orchis; an orchid


  • 1919, Ronald Firbank, Valmouth, Duckworth, hardback edition, page 91
    He had a suit of summer mufti, and a broad-brimmed blue beaver hat looped with leaves broken from the hedgerows in the lanes, and a Leander scarf tucked full of flowers: loosestrife, meadowrue, orchis, ragged-robin.

Extensive Definition

Orchis is a genus in the orchid family (Orchidaceae). This genus gets its name from the Greek όρχις orchis, meaning "testicle", from the appearance of the paired subterranean tuberoids.
This genus occurs mainly in Europe, NW Africa, and it stretches as far Tibet, Mongolia, China and Japan.
These terrestrial orchids have tubers instead of pseudobulbs. They are extremely diverse in appearance. They produce an erect stem. The inflorescence is a cylindrical to globular spike 5 - 15 cm long with yellow, red to purple flowers. They start flowering at the base, slowly progressing upwards, except the Monkey orchid (Orchis simia) that flowers in reverse order.
The original genus Orchis used to contain more than 1,300 names. Since it was polyphyletic, it has been divided by Pridgeon et al., into several new genera (see Reference): Ponerorchis, Schizodium, Steveniella.


List of accepted names :
  • Orchis adenocheilae Czernaik. (1924) (Iran)
  • Orchis anatolica Boiss. (1844) : Anatolian Orchis (Cyprus, Turkey, Southern Aegean Islands, Lebanon, Israel, Iran)
    • Orchis anatolica subsp. anatolica
    • Orchis anatolica subsp. troodi (Renz) Renz (1932).
  • Orchis anthropophora (L.) All. (1785) (Western Europe to Mediterranean)
  • Orchis brancifortii Biv. (1813) (Southern Italy, Sicilia, Sardinia)
  • Orchis canariensis Lindl. (1835) (Canary islands)
  • Orchis cazorlensis Lacaita (1930): Hunter's Orchis (Spain, Baleares)
  • Orchis dinsmorei (Schlechter) H.Baumann & Dafni (Israel) (synonym of Anacamptis laxiflora (Lam.) R.M.Bateman, Pridgeon & M.W.Chase )
  • Orchis fauriei Finet (1808) (Japan)
  • Orchis galilaea (Bornm. & M.Schulze) Schltr. (1923) (Turkey, Lebanon, Israel)
  • Orchis insularis Sommier (1895) (Italy)
  • Orchis italica Poir. in Lamarck (1798): Naked Man Orchid, Italian Orchis (Mediterranean)
  • Orchis mascula (L.) L. (1755) : Early Purple Orchid, Male Orchis (N. & C. Europe to Iran, Canary Islands)
    • Orchis mascula subsp. acutiflora (W.D.J.Koch) Quentin (1993)
    • Orchis mascula subsp. hispanica (A.Niesch. & C.Niesch.) Soó (1972) (Southern Pyrenees, Spain, Portugal, Morocco)
    • Orchis mascula subsp. longibracteatoides Balayer (1986) (Eastern Pyrenees)
    • Orchis mascula subsp. longicalcarata Akhalkatski, H. Baumann, R. Lorenz, Mosulishvili &R. Peter (2005) (Eastern and central Caucasus)
    • Orchis mascula subsp. maghrebiana B. Baumann & H. Baumann (2005)(Morocco)
    • Orchis mascula subsp. mascula (N. & C. Europe to Iran, Canary Islands)
    • Orchis mascula subsp. pinetorum (Boiss. & Kotschy) E.G.Camus (1908) (Macedonia to Iran)
    • Orchis mascula subsp. speciosa (Mutel) Hegi (1909) (Europe)
    • Orchis mascula subsp. wanjkovii (E.Wulff) Soó in G.Keller & al. (1932) (Crimea)
  • Orchis militaris L. (1753) : Military Orchid (Europe to Mongolia)
  • Orchis pallens L. (1771): Pale-flowered Orchid (Europe to Caucasus)
  • Orchis patens Desf. (1799) (Central Mediterranean to NW. Africa)
    • Orchis patens subsp. nitidifolia W.P.Teschner (1975) (Crete)
    • Orchis patens subsp. patens (Central Mediterranean to NW. Africa)
  • Orchis provincialis Balb. (1806): Provence Orchis (SC. & S. Europe to Caucasus, NW Africa)
    • Orchis provincialis subsp. pauciflora (Ten.) E.G.Camus (1908) (S. Europe to Crimea)
    • Orchis provincialis subsp. provincialis (SC. & S. Europe to Caucasus)
    • Orchis provincialis var. laeta (Steinh.) Maire & Weiller in R.C.J.Maire (1959) (Algeria, Tunisia)
  • Orchis punctulata Steven ex Lindl. (1835) : Small-dotted Orchis (SE. Europe to W. Asia)
  • Orchis purpurea Huds. (1762) : Lady orchid, Purple Orchis (Europe to Caucasus, Algeria)
  • Orchis quadripunctata Cirillo ex Ten. (1811): Four-spotted Orchis (Sardinia to Eastern Mediterranean)
  • Orchis scopulorum Summerh. (1961) : Branching Orchis (Madeira)
  • Orchis sezikiana B.Baumann & H.Baumann (1991) (Crete, Cyprus, SW Turkey)
  • Orchis simia Lam. (1779) : Monkey Orchid (Europe to Iran, N. Africa)
  • Orchis spitzelii Saut. ex W.D.J.Koch (1837) : Spitzel's Orchis (Sweden (Gotland), E. Spain to Caucasus, NW. Africa)
    • Orchis spitzelii subsp. latiflora B. Baumann & H. Baumann (2005) (Lebanon)
    • Orchis spitzelii subsp. teschneriana B. Baumann & H. Baumann (2005) (Northern Algeria)
  • Orchis wardii W.W.Sm. (1921) (S. & E. Tibet to SC. China)

Natural hybrids

  • Orchis × angusticruris Franch. in V.Humnicki (1876) (Orchis purpurea × Orchis simia) (Europe to Caucasus)
  • Orchis × apollinaris W.Rossi & al. (1992) (Orchis italica × Orchis simia) (Italy)
  • Orchis × bergonii Nanteuil (1887) (Orchis anthropophora × Orchis simia) (Western Mediterranean)
  • Orchis × beyrichii (Rchb.f.) A.Kern. (1865) (Orchis militaris × Orchis simia) (Europe to Turkey)
  • Orchis × bivonae Tod. (1840)(Orchis anthropophora × Orchis italica) (Southern Europe)
  • Orchis × blidana B.Baumann & H.Baumann (1980) (Orchis laeta × Orchis mascula subsp. olbiensis) (NW Africa)
  • Orchis × calliantha Renz & Taubenheim 1983 (Orchis punctulata × Orchis simia) (Turkey)
  • Orchis × clandestina Hautz. (1978) (Orchis patens × Orchis provincialis) (NW Italy)
  • Orchis × colemanii Cortesi 1907 (Orchis mascula × Orchis provincialis subsp. pauciflora) (Italy)
  • Orchis × fitzii Hautz. (1980 publ. 1983) (Orchis anatolica × Orchis mascula) (Turkey)
  • Orchis × golestanica Renz (1978) (Orchis adenocheilae × Orchis simia) (Iran)
  • Orchis × hybrida (Lindl.) Boenn. ex Rchb. (1830) (Orchis militaris × Orchis purpurea) (Europe)
  • Orchis × klopfensteiniae P.Delforge (1985) (Orchis pallens × Orchis spitzelii) (SW Europe)
  • Orchis × ligustica Ruppert. (1933) (Orchis mascula × Orchis patens) (Mediterranean)
  • Orchis × loreziana Brügger (1874) (Orchis mascula × Orchis pallens) (Europe)
    • Orchis × loreziana nothosubsp. kisslingii (Beck) Potucek (1976) (Orchis mascula subsp. speciosa × Orchis pallens) (Eastern Europe)
    • Orchis × loreziana nothosubsp. loreziana (Orchis mascula × Orchis pallens) (Central Europe)
  • Orchis × macra Lindl. (1835) (Orchis anthropophora × Orchis purpurea) (Europe)
  • Orchis × permixta Soó (1932) (Orchis mascula subsp. signifera × Orchis pallens × Orchis provincialis) (Crimea)
  • Orchis × petterssonii G.Keller ex Pett. (1947) (Orchis mascula × Orchis spitzelii) (Europe, NW Africa)
  • Orchis × plessidiaca Renz (1928) (Orchis pallens × Orchis provincialis) (SE Europe to Krim)
  • Orchis × pseudoanatolica H.Fleischm. (1914) (Orchis provincialis subsp. pauciflora × Orchis quadripunctata) (SE Europe)
    • Orchis × pseudoanatolica nothosubsp. buelii (Wildh.) ined. (Orchis provincialis × Orchis quadripunctata) (SE Europe)
    • Orchis × pseudoanatolica nothosubsp. pseudoanatolica (Orchis provincialis subsp. pauciflora × Orchis quadripunctata) (SE Europe)
  • Orchis × razzarae Galesi (2005) (Orchis lactea Poir. × Orchis italica Poir.) (Sicilia)
  • Orchis × sardoa (Scrugli & M.P.Grasso) Scrugli, A.Musacchio, D'Emerico, Pellegrino & Cozzolino (2004, publ. 2005)
  • Orchis × spuria Rchb.f. (1849) (Orchis anthropophora × Orchis militaris) (Europe)
  • Orchis × subpatens E.G.Camus in E.G.Camus & A.A.Camus (1928) (Orchis patens × Orchis provincialis) (S. Europe)
  • Orchis × tingitania Hautz. (1976) (Orchis provincialis × Orchis spitzelii) (Western Mediterranean)
  • Orchis × tochniana Kreutz & Scraton (2002) (Orchis italica × Orchis punctulata) (Cyprus)
  • Orchis × wulffiana Soó (1932) (Orchis punctulata × Orchis purpurea) (Crimea to caucasus)

Intergeneric hybrids

  • Orchiophrys (Ophrys x Orchis)
  • Orchiserapias (Orchis x Serapias)


  • (in German)

External links

orchis in German: Knabenkräuter (Orchis)
orchis in Spanish: Orchis
orchis in French: Orchis
orchis in Italian: Orchis
orchis in Georgian: ჯადვარი
orchis in Lithuanian: Gegužraibė
orchis in Dutch: Orchis
orchis in Dutch Low Saxon: Adammetjes-en-evaatjes
orchis in Polish: Storczyk
orchis in Portuguese: Orchis
orchis in Russian: Ятрышник
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