Do you know where you can find it?
You might have noticed it on Singapore’s one-dollar coin and on stamps, but do you really know much about this famous icon? Find out why it has been an inspiration for fashion, jewellery and even unique souvenirs.
Vanda Miss Joaquim is a hybrid orchid with violet-rose petals which gradients into a fiery orange where they merge at the tip of the stem.
Despite having been Singapore’s national flower for 35 years, the orchid’s parentage stayed unclear, and it was only in 2009 that this mystery was solved: an orchid species called Vanda hookeriana is the father, and Vanda teres is the mother.
The beautiful flower was chosen as Singapore’s National Flower in April 1981, due to its vibrant colours, hardiness and resilience — as these are qualities that reflect the Singapore spirit. Its ability to bloom throughout the year was also a contributing factor. It was selected from among 40 flowers, out of which 30 were orchids.
Believe it or not, Singapore is the only country to have a hybrid as her national flower – chosen in part to represent Singapore’s uniqueness and hybrid culture.
You can spot the free-flowering plant at the National Orchid Garden (pictured) at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Vanda Miss Joaquim Pavilion at Craig Road, and at Agnes Joaquim’s tombstone at the Armenian Apostolic Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator.
Photo by Muneerah Bee
Other places in Singapore bearing its name include the Vanda Miss Joaquim Park at Yan Kit Road (pictured), Vanda Drive, Vanda Road, Vanda Link, Vanda Avenue and Vanda Crescent near the Sixth Avenue area.
Vanda Miss Joaquim is also the moniker for a Singapore drag queen who competed in Drag Race Thailand (Season 2). She is known for pollinating stages all over Singapore with her fierce moves and fabulous outfits. You’ve probably seen her blooming at Pink Dot SG events and videos, and photosynthesising at Tantric Bar and May Wong’s Cafe.
By Muneerah Bee, September 2016 / Updated by Muneerah Bee, February 2020
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