Singapore's National Flower: The Hybrid Orchid

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 26 Apr 2019  

Singapore’s renowned for its affordable (and excellent, to boot) local food and desserts. But associations with the shiny, modern city run far deeper: there’s the Merlion and its surrounding folklore, and then there’s the national flower.  


pink orchid


The hybrid orchid that beat ’em all 

As something of a Frankenstein orchid, the so-named Vanda Miss Joaquim was created from cross-breeding two flower species in the 1890s by Singapore-based Armenian horticulturalist, Agnes Joaquim. Distinct in its beauty and form, the flower soon gained popularity for being the only Vanda hybrid in the world, and – thanks in part to its vibrant and resilient spirit – beat some 40 flowers to be christened Singapore’s national flower in 1981.

Her status as national flower has earned the Vanda Miss Joaquim some serious weight. From Singapore’s bank notes and coins to stamps and souvenirs, you’ll find motifs of the unique orchid where you least expect them. In itself, the flower embodies Singapore’s multicultural heritage; a celebration of the harmony enjoyed among the city’s four key ethnic communities.


orchid scent


Scents and sensibility 

Marina Bay Sands offers a good selection of orchid-infused scents for your choosing. Surprise a loved one with a bouquet of exotic orchid varieties from Bay Floral, where you’ll find an extensive selection of flower arrangements. Prefer something made to last? Try the classic 24K gold-plated orchid jewellery from RISIS, fashioned from real orchids.

Alternatively, enter the dark side with TOM FORD's Black Orchid Eau De Parfum, a daring fragrance featuring headier, darker top notes and sultry, fruity middle notes. For a customised orchid scent, you can’t go wrong with the bespoke service by fragrance maison Henry Jacques – or perhaps creative British perfumer Penhaligon’s.


light pink orchid


A salve for the senses 

If you’re hoping to squeeze in a massage session, check in at Banyan Tree Spa for the 210-minute Harmony Banyan treatment that incorporates orchid essential oil – believed to rehydrate the skin and diminish signs of ageing. The treatment includes an exfoliating body scrub infused with Singapore's national flower, a head-and-foot massage, a therapeutic orchid bath and a harmony massage led by two therapists.

Unsurprisingly, orchids are also used in medicine. The flower’s herbal extracts help with medical conditions including hypertension, migraines, allergies and cramps. With the myriad ways in which Singapore incorporates the Vanda Miss Joaquim, your encounters with the orchid will inevitably be unique – much like the hardy, hybrid national flower.


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