The Duterte flower: Singapore names orchid after Philippines’ firebrand president
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The Duterte flower: Singapore names orchid after Philippines’ firebrand president

PHILIPPINES’ tough-talking president Rodrigo Duterte has just been immortalised as a flower, thanks to Singapore’s “orchid diplomacy”, a decades-old initiative to promote goodwill between the city state and its allies.

The name “Rodrigo Roa Duterte” now also belongs to a violet-red orchid, a new hybrid cross between a Dendrobium Sonia Beauty and Dendrobium Urmila Nandey, according to reports.


The Dendrobium Rodrigo Roa Duterte on display at Singapore’s Botanic Gardens. Source: Reuters/Edgar Su

A Rappler article said the “Dendrobium Rodrigo Roa Duterte”, described as a “compact, robust and vigorous hybrid”, is an upright flower that bears up to 15 “striking and well-arranged blooms”, each about 6cm across.

The flower was christened when Duterte visited his Southeast Asian neighbour this week. On Friday, the last day of his visit, the leader had the opportunity to inspect the flower up close during a naming ceremony at the National Botanical Garden.

There are more than 200 orchids named after foreign dignitaries to date, including the Duke of Cambridge Prince William and his wife Kate, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon as well as the late Nelson Mandela.

Orchids have also been named after Singapore’s founding father, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and his wife Kwa Geok Choo.

According to Singapore’s National Parks, “orchid diplomacy” is a tradition practiced since 1956.

On its website, the initiative is described as one that serves as a gesture of friendship to promote goodwill between Singapore and other countries, and that plays an important role in building bilateral ties.