20 Nov '11, 4am

A love affair that bloomed

George Carpentier was a French heavyweight boxer who fought for the world title in the early 1920s. His nickname was the Orchid Man - probably the worst moniker for a fighter there ever was. Around the same time, about 15,000km away, Singapore Botanic Gardens chief Richard Eric Holttum was conducting the first experiments in symbiotic orchid breeding. This ground-breaking vision set in motion an explosion of hybrid orchids, which laid the foundation for the multi-million-dollar cut flower industry. Yet, it was to take another 60 years before one Singaporean pioneer could claim the Orchid Man title as his own. Mr Syed Yusof Alsagoff has, arguably more than any other, put Singapore on the map as the world's orchid capital. It was he, along with former Gardens chief executive Dr Tan Wee Kiat, who created the National Orchid Garden. This week's 20th World Orchid Conference's (...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/Sunday/FaceintheCrowd/EDC11112...

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