Miss Agnes Joaquim (a Singaporean of Armenian descent) bred the world's first cultivated vanda hybrid by crossing the Burmese Vanda teres with the Malayan Vanda hookeriana. In early 1893, she showed the plant to Henry Ridley, the director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. After carefully examining the hybrid and having it sketched, Ridley sent a detailed description, emphasising its intermediate floral characteristics, to the Gardeners' Chronicle ( 24 June 1893). In 1947, the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid, described by John Laycock as 'a child of Singapore' was chosen as the most fitting emblem for the nascent Progressive Party, and not surprisingly,
as the crest for the Malayan Orchid Society in 1957. But in April 1981, came the ultimate accolade. From a field of forty contenders, Vanda Miss Joaquim was selected as the National Flower of Singapore. More
information about the life of Agnes Joaquim and the controversy surrounding the origin of this unique orchid can be found in Nadia Wright's Respected Citizens: History of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia.