Singapore boasts of having one of the most impressive orchid gardens not only in all of Asia but around the world, too. The Lion City is also known for christening its exquisite orchids to commemorate the visit of foreign dignitaries and other noteworthy personalities in the state.
A First of Many
In a recent press release, the Singapore Botanic Gardens has announced that it is for the first time naming two new orchid hybrids after its national swimming athletes, Joseph Schooling and Yip Pin Xiu. Both have previously competed and returned victorious at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympic Games.
Schooling made history when he brought home the first ever shiny gold for the country during the 100m butterfly swimming competition.
Despite having the physical limitations because of being born with muscular dystrophy, Yip has had a successful career as a backstroke swimmer. She bagged two gold medals (100 meters S2 backstroke and 50 meters split) at the 2016 Paralympics and set an impressive world record.
"The Singapore Botanic Gardens is pleased to present these orchids to Ms Yip and Mr Schooling for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to Singapore’s world standing in the international sports arena,” Dr. Nigel Taylor, the group director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens stated.
To date, only three Singaporeans have been deemed worthy of the garden’s prestigious orchid naming program. The first one was singer-songwriter, Stefanie Sun, back in 2006. Yip and Schooling followed.
The two athletes lent their names to dendrobium orchid hybrids.
According to the National Parks Board, the Dendrobium Joseph Schooling is a "vigorous and free flowering" hybrid with yellow and slightly twisted petals. Each inflorescence has the ability to bloom with 15 flowers minimum, which measures 6 centimeters wide.
Dendrobium Yip Pin Xiu, on the other hand, has showy white flowers with hints of magenta.
“To be named after something so beautiful and so unique is really a true honor," Yip, a three-time Paralympic gold medalist, revealed after citing that orchid is Singapore’s national flower.