Singapore names reddish-brown, purple orchid after Dr M, wife

Singapore named a variety of orchid Dendrobium Mahathir Siti Hasmah (right) at the Istana in Singapore November 12, 2018. — Picture courtesy of the Department of Information Malaysia
Singapore named a variety of orchid Dendrobium Mahathir Siti Hasmah (right) at the Istana in Singapore November 12, 2018. — Picture courtesy of the Department of Information Malaysia

SINGAPORE, Nov 12 — The Singaporean government announced a variety of orchid hybrid is to be named after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, marking their official visit to the island state today and in hopes of warmer ties.

Named “Dendrobium Mahathir Siti Hasmah,” the flower is described as having "distinguished and well-twisted" petals with a mahogany colour.

Its sepals are reddish-brown with a white margin, accompanied by a purple lip.

The plant grows upright up to 38cm with between 14 to 20 flowers each. Each flower is around 5cm wide.

The naming ceremony today was witnessed by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching, at the Istana here.

Dr Mahathir is on an official two-day visit here, and will attend the Asean Summit 2018.

Singapore has a tradition of cultivating varieties of orchids, its national flower, and naming it after celebrities and visiting dignitaries.

In 2009, Singapore had also named a hybrid Dendrobium Najib Rosmah after then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.