Some background on Vanda Miss Joaquim
Vanda Miss Joaquim was chosen as the national flower in the year 1981 among 40 contenders of which
30 of them are all different species of orchid. The need for a national flower comes from the
overall effort to foster national pride and identity. Unlike other countries all over the world who can
only choose their national flowers that can also be found in other parts of the world, our national flower
Vanda Miss Joaquim can only be found and grown right here in Singapore and not anywhere else.
The choice for using orchid as the national flower can be easily understood. The reason is that
since olden days, Singapore had long been identified together with orchid and no orchid other
than Vanda Miss Joaquim is worthy as it is the oldest and the sole indigenous natural hybrid.
History of Vanda Miss Joaquim
The first discovery of Vanda Miss Joaquim took place one early morning in 1893 when Miss Agnes
Joaquim was talking a walk in her garden alone. By chance she came upon a new orchid flower which
she had never seen before. The new orchid flower was nestled in a clump of bamboo and it was round
and full, of a delicate mauve similar to that of other Vanda except that this one was flowering
out of season, the features shown on this new flowers were also somehow different. Suspecting
that this flower could probably be a new specie, Miss Joaquim took it to the director of Singapore Botanic Gardens
who also confirmed that it is indeed a new specie, one that was never seen before and unknown to science,
a hybrid between Vanda hookerana and Vanda teres. Therefore the orchid was named after the
founder Miss Joaquim.
Unique Features of Vanda Miss Joaquim
A strong inflorescence of Vanda Miss Joaquim may carry up to 12 buds,
usually with four flowers open at a time. Each flower is about 5 cm across and
6 cm tall, and as is the case with its parents, the petals are twisted around
so that the back surface faces front. The two petals and the top sepal are
rosy-violet, and the lateral sepals are a pale mauve. The lip is very large and
broad and the middle lobe extends out like a fan. It is coloured violet-rose,
merging into a contrasting fiery orange at the centre. Over the orange patch,
the lip is finely spotted with dark purple. It is free-flowering.