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National Flower

The Origin

Singapore is a Garden City, rich in greenery and biodiversity. It is thus fitting that the nation is represented by a unique National Flower of its own, the Vanda Miss Joaquim (pronounced Wah-Kim).

In 1981, the then Ministry of Culture formed a national committee to select a representative national flower “as part of an overall effort to foster national pride and identity”. The committee comprised representatives from the Ministry, the then Parks and Recreation Department, Singapore Tourist Promotion Board, the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and the Orchid Society of South East Asia.

The committee deliberated over 40 types of flowers, which included 30 orchids, to find one that is "popularly known, free flowering, colourful and attractive". In the end, the Vanda Miss Joaquim was chosen as the National Flower for its "resilience and yearround blooming quality".

Vanda Miss Joaquim was also selected as it was a "natural hybrid and indigenous to Singapore". A cross between Vanda hookeriana and Vanda teres, the orchid is named in memory of Miss Agnes Joaquim, who discovered the flower in her garden at Tanjong Pagar in 1893. It was registered as Singapore’s first orchid hybrid and the world’s first Vanda hybrid, and soon became popular all over the world as a cut flower due to its beauty and hardiness.

On 15 April 1981, then Minister for Culture Mr S. Dhanabalan announced the launch of Vanda Miss Joaquim as Singapore’s National Flower. The orchid can be seen growing in the National Orchid Garden, the Botanic Gardens, the Mandai Orchid Gardens and the Vanda Miss Joaquim Park at Tanjong Pagar.

During National Day or other national events, images of Vanda Miss Joaquim can be found on banners, buntings and other decorations. Images of Vanda Miss Joaquim can also be found on currency and postal stamp series. The flower is also used in souvenirs, jewellery and has become a source of inspiration for art, songs, fashion and architecture.

"As the flower most associated with hybrids, the orchid is also a symbol of our multicultural heritage. It is representative of the harmony among our ethnic communities, as well as with our many foreign visitors."

Quote taken from a speech by Mr Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development, at the Singapore Orchid Show, 2006.

Miss Agnes Joaquim
- A Singapore-born Armenian

Miss Agnes Joaquim was born on 7 April 1854 to Basil Joaquim and Urelia Zachariah, who were members of Singapore’s small but influential Armenian community. She lived in a large house on Narcis Street off Tanjong Pagar Road, where she enjoyed gardening.

Her discovery of a new Vanda orchid in her garden in 1893 was confirmed by Mr Henry Ridley, then Director of the Botanic Gardens, as a new hybrid unknown to science. Unfortunately, Miss Joaquim died six years after her discovery, aged 45, and could not enjoy the widespread popularity of the orchid named after her. Her tombstone is found in the memorial garden in the Armenian Church, the oldest Christian church in Singapore.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I am from an advertising/ design agency and would like to use the National Flower as part of my graphic design on print advertisements, publicity materials, etc. Can I do so?

    Yes. There are no guidelines that regulate the use of the National Flower.

  2. I would like to use the National Flower as part of my product design which will be sold commercially. Can I do so?

    Yes. There are no guidelines that regulate the use of the National Flower.