to the debate
Origins of Vanda Miss Joaquim’
‘The Origins of Vanda Miss Joaquim’
re-examination of the origins of Vanda Miss Joaquim’
reply to Yam, Arditti and Hew’s ‘The Origin of Vanda
Ridley H. N. 1893 ‘New and Noteworthy Plants:
It is simply not true that Agnes Joaquim found the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid one morning when she was loitering alone in her garden. This supposition is based solely on the alleged recollections of an elderly man, and must be dismissed as hearsay.
To argue that his unsubstantiated tale proves Henry Ridley wrong is ludicrous. Ridley was an eminent botanist; a noted writer on orchids and was highly respected for his opinions on orchids and fertilisation. His publication of the origins of Vanda Miss Joaquim appeared in the prestigious Gardeners’ Chronicle where new hybrids were written up. Details were published in other authoritative journals. Ridley’s account was never challenged or amended. Indeed in a speech delivered to the Linnean Society in 1894 he repeated that Vanda Miss Joaquim was an artificial hybrid and this was printed in 1896. Again no amendments were made.
In a seemingly desperate attempt to cast doubt on the veracity of Ridley’s account, some writers have attempted to denigrate both Ridley and his work, hoping that readers might then disbelieve his account. They have also raised illogical, irrelevant and specious arguments to show Agnes could not have bred the orchid. These have all been thoroughly refuted. Writers who have attempted to prove that the carpenter bee was responsible have provided no evidence and not explained why other naturally-occurring Vanda Miss Joaquims have never appeared. Finally one writer has resorted to personal attacks on those who supported Ridley’s account and dismissed the unproven claim that Agnes Joaquim found the orchid.
Just as Ridley had the first word on this orchid, so he should have the last: ‘A few years ago, Miss Joaquim, a lady residing in Singapore, well-known for her success as a horticulturist, succeeded in crossing Vanda Hookeriana, Rchb. f, and V. teres’ .[i]
Copyright © Nadia Wright 2006.