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(butterfly orchid), a genus of perennial plants of the family Orchidaceae. They are grasses with paired underground tubers, the larger of which is withered, and the smaller juicy. The stem is single with one or two contiguous leaves near the base. The flowers, which are in a loose inflorescence, are white or greenish white and have an entire lip and a long spur. There are more than 50 species (according to other sources, up to 200), distributed in the northern hemisphere. Eight species are found in the USSR. The lesser butterfly orchid (Platanthera bifolia), which has white flowers that are particularly fragrant at night, grows in the southern forest and foreststeppe zones of the European USSR and in forest meadows and thickets in the southern part of Western Siberia. Like the tubers of other orchids, the tubers of butterfly orchids are called salep and are used medicinally.