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Some orchids are named after the shape of their flower. Others are named after their strong fragrance. The broad-leaved orchid is named after its broad leaves. The length of the leaves are no more than four times their greatest width, which is found about halfway along the leaf. And the leaves are spotted. These spots inspired the Frisians to call this plant 'frouljutriennen', which means women's tears. The broad-leaved orchid is a relatively short plant. It starts flowering before the stem has reached its greatest height. Therefore, the first flowers are sometimes hidden among the leaves.

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