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Mary Kuper

As spring begins and the annual orchid festival opens at Kew Gardens, ‘orchid’ seems a good word for March. Named for the resemblance of the roots to testicles, ‘orchis’ in Greek, the word was introduced into English in 1845. ‘Ballockwort’ was the old English equivalent from ballocks, or testicles, which itself evolved from beallucas, the Old English word for balls, plus ‘wort’, meaning ‘plant’.

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