Swimmers Joseph Schooling and Yip Pin Xiu get orchids named after them

Swimmers Joseph Schooling and Yip Pin Xiu get orchids named after them
The Dendrobium Joseph Schooling is vigorous and free flowering, with each inflorescence bearing at least 15 flowers.
PHOTO: Reuters, NParks

SINGAPORE - Two Olympic swimming champs of Singapore have joined the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Elton John and Michael Kors to have orchids named after them.

They are none other than Singapore's first Paralympic Yip Pin Xiu and Olympian Joseph Schooling, who were presented with sprightly-looking flowers at the Singapore Botanic Gardens today (Aug 7) in recognition of their achievements.

Dendrobium Yip Pin XiuPhoto: NParks

Ms Yip, a three-time Paralympic gold medallist with two world records in the backstroke, has a Dendrobium hybrid named after her.

Describing it in a statement, NParks said it is "vigorous and free flowering", producing upright to semi-arching inflorescences, each bearing at least 15 striking flowers."

Each flower boasts sepals that are white with a faint blush of purple, while the white petals are infused with magenta and complemented with a prominent bright purple lip, said NParks.

As for Schooling - who won gold in the 100m butterfly at the 2016 Olympics, attaining Singapore's first-ever Olympic medal in swimming, as well as its first-ever Olympic gold medal - it was also a Dendrobium hybrid that was picked for him.

Reflecting his energy in sportsmanship, the orchid is "robust and free-flowering".

The full description reads: "The inflorescences are 30 to 45cm long with 15 to 20 well-arranged flowers. The flowers have a firm texture and are about 4.5cm in width. The petals are yellow and slightly twisted while the sepals are greenish yellow. They are accompanied by a prominent lip that is green with light brownish purple tessellation."

Dr Nigel Taylor, Group Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, with Ms Yip and Mr Schooling next to the orchid hybrids named after them.Photo: NParks

Both athletes were given a tour of the orchid laboratory where the orchid hybrids are raised.

At the National Orchid Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, you can view other celebrity orchids such as Dendrobium Stefanie Sun, named after Singapore's Mando-pop star, and sports personalities such as Holttumara Annika Sorenstam, named after the famous female golfer.

With a display spreading over three hectares on the highest hill in the Gardens and a two hectare nursery, the National Orchid Garden's over 1,000 orchid species and 2,000 orchid hybrids set against contrasting textures and shapes of tropical foliage is an amazing spectacle.

Opened by former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1995, the orchid garden houses the most comprehensive collection of tropical orchids in the world.


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