A historic orchid is to be presented to Her Majesty the Queen at Chelsea Flower Show by His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom.
Oncidium alexandrae ‘Diamond Jubilee’ will be presented to the Queen at the Orchid Society of Great Britain exhibit at Chelsea Flower Show on May 21.
Oncidium alexandrae – originally known as Odontoglossum crispum var. alexandrae and Odontoglossum alexandrae - was discovered in the 1860s by Karl Hartweg from the Royal Horticultural Society and the Belgian orchid grower, Jean Linden, exploring together in the cloud forests of Colombia.
It was named in 1864 in honour of HM Queen Alexandra, great-grandmother to HM Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of her wedding to King Edward VII the previous year. It was used (using the name Odontoglossum crispum) in the Golden Jubilee procession of Queen Victoria of 1887 and it is thought it was also used at her Diamond Jubilee of 1897.
Flowers of Oncidium alexandrae were in HM The Queen’s wedding bouquet, supplied by McBean’s Orchids who have continued 150 years of selective breeding started by the orchid nursery of Charlesworth & Co. to produce this cultivar, ‘Diamond Jubilee’.
Varieties of Oncidium alexandrae (under its previous name of Ondontoglossum crispum) have been the most sought after of all orchids. Baron Schroeder paid 1,150 guineas (£1207.50) for a plant at the Protheroe and Morris auction in 1906, and a Mr Pitt paid £1,500. The tradition of excellence continues - McBean’s exhibited Oncidium alexandrae at the World Orchid Conference in Singapore in 2011 where it was judged as the Best Orchid in the World in its class, and received the World Orchid Conference Gold Medal. The plant to be presented to Her Majesty is a magnificent cultivar of this historic species.
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