Monday, August 01, 2005

Singapore's National Botanical Gardens

Singapore's national flower is an orchid, an indigenous hybrid that was discovered in 1893. It didn't receive its national recognition until 1981, when it was chosen amongst 30 other orchid contenders. Vanda Miss Joaquim is its name, a cross between Vanda hookeriana and Vanda teres. It was selected because of its resilience and ability to bloom year-round, qualities the judges felt reflect Singapore's continual strive for progress and excellence in all aspects of life.
Singapore also has a National Orchid garden, with 60,000 plants comprising 400 species and over 2000 hybrids! I was infatuated with orchids before, but it wasn't until visiting this garden that I really got "orchidelirium"! Funny enough, in all the excitement I didn't even take a photo of Vanda Miss Joaquim. Following are a few of the shots I did take.

This Cattleya hybrid was probably one of the most spectacular orchids in the garden.

Epidendrum schomburgkii is the name of this firey species and its native range is in South America. I love the Epidendrum genus because the flowers look like small, animated bearded men!

Cymbidium sinense is a scented, robust species that has been highly prized and cultivated in China and Japan for centuries. Its distribution is from Bangladesh through China, northern Thailand, Myanmar and the Ryukyu Islands.

The Vanda genus is one of the most popular in horticultural practices, and has been successfully crossed with several other genera. Here is an example - an Ascocendra (or Ascda.), a hybrid between Vanda and Ascocentrum.


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