DENR hails Congress move to declare Waling-waling as national flower

A February 27, 2013, press release from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has welcomed a move in Congress to declare the Waling-waling as the Philippine National Flower alongside Sampaguita.

“The Waling-waling can best represent the splendor and uniqueness of Philippine biodiversity because it is considered the finest and most beautiful among all species of orchids in the country,” Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Ramon J.P. Paje said.

He said that naming the Waling-waling (Euanthe sanderiana) as national flower would “raise public consciousness on its rarity and boost efforts to protect and conserve the flower.”

Dubbed as the “Queen of Philippine Orchids,” the Waling-waling is flower endemic to the island in Mindanao, where the indigenous Bagobo tribes worship it as deity.

On the other hand, Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac), which was adopted as the country’s national flower as early as 1934, is not endemic to the country because it can also be found across South Asia, Hawaii and even the Middle East, where it is known as the Arabian Jasmine. Sampaguita is also one of Indonesia’s national flowers.

The Waling-waling is considered critically endangered under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES, an international treaty among governments to ensure that the survival of wild plants and animals are not threatened by their trade.

Trading Waling-waling specimens is permitted only in exceptional circumstances, while the DENR imposes certain requirements for their propagation.

Earlier, both the Senate and the House of Representatives have approved a measure declaring Waling-waling as a national flower because of its uniqueness and beauty that caught the attention of flower enthusiasts here and abroad.