|Vanda Miss Joaquim|
Vanda Miss Joaquim (卓锦万黛兰; pinyin: zhuójǐn wàndàilán), a hybrid orchid cultivar, is Singapore's national flower. Unlike most countries whose national flowers are found beyond their national boundaries, Singapore has the distinction of being the only nation to have a hybrid as its national flower and whose distribution was confined to Singapore's boundaries.
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.
Vanda Miss Joaquim is a natural hybrid between Vanda teres and Vanda hookeriana and was first discovered in the garden of Agnes Joaquim in 1893. It was described in the same year by Henry N. Ridley, director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens at the time.
On April 15, 1981, the Minister of Culture, S. Dhanabalan, announced that as part of an overall effort to foster national pride and identity Vanda Miss Joaquim was chosen from amongst 40 other flowers (including some 30 orchids) as Singapore's national flower. The ability of Vanda Miss Joaquim's to bloom throughout the year was considered to reflect Singapore's continuous quest for progress and excellence in all aspects of life, and its natural resilience which is reflected the determination of the Singaporean people to stand fast through difficult times.
Vanda Miss Joaquim requires full sunlight, free air movement, high humidity and heavy fertilising to achieve optimum growth and flowering. It needs support to grow straight and tall but it flowers only when the top of its stem rises above the support. It is a robust, sun loving plant with slender stems best grown in beds against post supports.
- Biology of Vanda Miss Joaquim by Choy Sin Hew (PhD., retired Professor of Botany, National University of Singapore), Tim Wing Yam (PhD., Singapore Botanic Gardens) and Joseph Arditti (PhD., Professor Emeritus, University of California, Irvine).