One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An orchid with a slender spike of greenish or mauve flowers and a single pair of broad leaves near the base or midway up the stem.
Genera Listera and Liparis, family Orchidaceae: several species, including the North American heartleaf twayblade (Listera cordata) and the Eurasian common twayblade (Listera ovata)
- ‘Surveys have found close to a thousand heart-leafed twayblades in the lower, wetter areas.’
- ‘The large twayblade grows in shady woodlands in loamy soil.’
- ‘The name twayblade refers to the pair of oval leaves (two blades) near the base of the plant.’
- ‘Less common species are meadow saxifrage, green-winged orchid, common twayblade and lesser butterfly-orchid.’
- ‘While with a client last week I visited a patch of heart-leaved twayblades near Bandon.’
Late 16th century: from tway (variant of twain) + blade, translating Latin bifolium.
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