Back in Singapore, we got a roaming welcome from the largest orchid in the world, the Tiger orchid. In full bloom only once in every 20 years, it is for the moment putting up a huge show at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. If you are around, try not to miss it: 35 long stems are carrying over 50 flowers each, which means that more than 1750 large and fragrant orchid flowers are swaying in the wind close to the Tanglin gate of the gardens!
The Tiger orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum) is named as the markings on the flowers are thought to resemble the stripes of a tiger (leopards are not native to these areas, if you think that it would make more sense). A real heavyweight of orchids (or any other flowers), a mature plant can actually weight more than one ton (!), so it usually grows at the "fork" of the lower tree branches - higher up, it would probably take down the whole tree, or at least the branch is was growing on.
This huge, fragrant orchid is native to Singapore, but has unfortunately been extinct in the wild since about year 1900. The National Parks organization has made conservation efforts to reintroduce the plant on the island, and has luckily had some success even in the city center close to Orchard and Alexandra Roads, and more expectedly, in some remote parks (of course, nothing is really remote in little Singapore...). As I said, try make an effort to see it if you are around; it is quite special to see the largest orchid of the world in full bloom!