SINGAPORE - One of the olive trees in the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, which is more than 100 years old, has borne flowers and fruit.
In a blog post on Friday, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said he was thrilled to see the silvery-green tree bearing flowers and small olives for the first time since it was brought to Singapore from Spain in 2011.
"Producing olives is an almost impossible task in tropical countries like Singapore," he noted.
Olives are native to the Mediterranean, and though they grow best in places with warm summers, they also require a certain degree of cold for the proper development of flowers, he added. Last December, temperatures in the Flower Dome were lowered to simulate the cool climatic conditions that Mediterranean plants require to live through winter.
"As if responding to the nudge by its carers, the old olive dame has responded to the chilling. Dainty olive flowers bloomed just in time for the Chinese New Year," wrote Mr Khaw.
More recently, Gardens by the Bay staff placed fans under the trees every morning to help the transfer of pollen, as olive flowers are wind-pollinated.
"It worked! This has encouraged the tree to bear fruit!" wrote Mr Khaw.
Noting that the olive is a symbol of peace, abundance and glory, he urged Singaporeans to visit the olive trees in the Flower Dome, one of which is 1,000 years old.