Vanda Miss Joaquim - Our National Flower
On 15 April 1981, Vanda Miss Joaquim (Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim) was selected as Singapore's National Flower. It was selected from among 40 flowers, out of which 30 were orchids. Among the several varieties of Vanda Miss Joaquim, the variety "Agnes" was chosen in particular for its vibrant colours, hardiness and resilience – qualities that reflect the Singapore spirit.
Vanda Miss Joaquim was described and named by H.N. Ridley, then Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, in the Gardeners’ Chronicle, 24 June, 1893. There, Ridley stated: “A few years ago Miss [Agnes] Joaquim, a lady residing in Singapore succeeded in crossing Vanda hookeriana and Vanda teres, two plants cultivated in almost every garden in Singapore.”
Read his account of Vanda Miss Joaquim in the Gardeners' Chronicle on 24 June 1893 here.
Fun Facts about Vanda Miss Joaquim
- Singapore is the only country to have a hybrid as her national flower.
- Vanda Miss Joaquim is the first registered plant hybrid from Singapore.
- A park, the Vanda Miss Joaquim Park, and several roads have been named after our national flower, including Vanda Drive and Vanda Crescent.
- Research has shown that the parents of Vanda Miss Joaquim, Vanda teres and Vanda hookeriana should actually be in the genus Papilionanthe, instead of Vanda. Thus, the scientific names of these flowers are now Papilionanthe teres and Papilionanthe hookeriana. The scientific name of our national flower has also followed suit, and is now Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim. However, its common name continues to be Vanda Miss Joaquim.
Growing Vanda Miss Joaquim
- This slow-growing hybrid grows best in an open, sunny location with humid, non-stagnant air.
- It requires heavy fertilisation for optimal flowering.
- The slender stems should be tied to posts for support.
- The top of the plant needs to grow to about 40−50 cm above the post before it will begin to flower.
- This hybrid is free-flowering and blooms throughout the year in Singapore.
Up to 12 flowers can grow on a single inflorescence of Vanda Miss Joaquim.
The stems of Vanda Miss Joaquim should be tied to flower posts for support.
Each Vanda Miss Joaquim flower is about 5 cm across, and 6 cm tall. The top sepal and petals are light pink, while the lower sepals are white. The angel-shaped lip in the middle is bright pinkish purple, with an orange centre that has reddish-purple spots.