Singapore - United States first lady Laura Bush joined luminaries such as Ricky Martin and Margaret Thatcher on Tuesday when Singapore named an orchid after her.

The "Mokara Laura Bush" is a yellow flower speckled with pale orange-brown spots.

"Oh that's beautiful," the first lady said when a bouquet of the flowers was presented to her at Singapore's National Orchid Garden.

"I can't imagine anything nicer than having an orchid named for yourself," she said.

About 50 people attended the orchid-naming ceremony, which took place during a 15-hour visit to Singapore by the first lady and US President George Bush.

The visit is only the second to the island nation by a US president.

Latin pop star Ricky Martin, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Britain's late Princess Diana have been honoured with similar ceremonies, said Benjamin Aw, a spokesperson for the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Another orchid, the "Phalaenopsis Barbara Bush," was named after the first lady's mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, when she visited Singapore in 1994 after her husband's term as president.

Singapore is a leading exporter of orchids. The national flower is an indigenous mauve-hued orchid called the Vanda Miss Joaquim.

The city-state's National Orchid Garden boasts the world's largest display of orchids, with over 60 000 varieties, according to the National Parks Board. Sapa-AP