One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A Eurasian orchid of calcareous grassland, Orchis simia (now very rare in Britain), in which the lip of the flower is lobed so as to resemble the figure of a monkey.
2An epiphytic orchid of tropical South America, Coryanthes macrantha.
1920s. From monkey + orchid, so named on account of the shape of the lips of the flower.
monkey orchid/ˈmʌŋkɪ ˌɔːkɪd/
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