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Robert | all galleries >> Nature Galleries >> National Orchid Gardens > Orchid 1. Vanda Miss Joaquim 'Agnes'
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Orchid 1. Vanda Miss Joaquim Agnes
27-JUL-2003 Copyright 2003 Robert

Orchid 1. Vanda Miss Joaquim 'Agnes'

Singapore Botanic Gardens

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.

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Prof. Joseph Arditti 28-Jul-2005 18:12
Ridley did not provide evidence to support his statement. In fact he did not even even state that he met Miss Agnes Joaquim and/or ever spoke to her. The herbarium
specimen he prepared states that it was provided by Mr. Joe Jaoquim, not Miss
Agnes Joaquim. All scientific evidence indicates that Vanda Miss Joaquim is a
natural hybrid. One can believe/claim otherwise. Beliefs/claims are not science.
Nadia Wright 13-Jul-2005 10:47
Orchid expert Henry Ridley's exact words in 1893 were " A few years ago, Miss Joaquim, a lady residing in Singapore, well-known for her success as a horticulturalist, succeeded in crossing Vanda Hookeriana Rchb.f. and V. teres". This is unambiguous. If she had found it in the garden, he would have said so. ( See The Gardeners' Chronicle 24 June 1893: p 740)

Nadia Wright
Prof. Joseph Arditti 10-Jul-2005 07:50
Mis Agnes Joaquim did not breed Vanda Miss Joaquim, she found it in her garden. The National flower is a natural hybrid.