Jeff's Houston Connection

Week 23: Aug 24, 2020

Bulbophyllum Jeff's Houston Connection

(Bulb. Frank Smith x Bulb. mandibulare)

I would like to present new candidate - Bulbophyllum Jeff's Houston Connection (Bulb. Frank Smith x Bulb. mandibulare).

This hybrid was originated by D. Hunt and registered by Tropical Orchid Farm in 2010 and involves three bulbophyllum species: mandibulare, lobbii and carunculatum.

Previous Awards:

There are 2 AOS awards on Bulbophyllum Jeff's Houston Connection, both are HCC.


2 open flowers and 2 partially open flowers and 13 buds on 7 inflorescences.

The flowers are very short-lived. No fragrance noted.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 8.5 cm; NS V - 9.5 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 1.9 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 6.5 cm;

Petal W - 1.4 cm; Petals L - 4.0 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 1.5 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 7.2 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 1.0 cm; Lip/Pouch L - 2.4 cm.

Judges' Comments

Al Messina

Two flowers and 15 buds on 7. One of the few (if any) reasons for breeding with mandibulare is to extract a deep crimson color which some clones demonstrate. This appears to have eluded the hybridizer in this case. Although the present color is fine with nicely contrasting lip, the lateral sepals are not consistent on the only two open flowers. They are surprisingly reasonably well formed(many mandibulares have fused, non-separating symphysis----think of your chin where two separate embryonic bones form and fuse; manibulare=mandible, your lower jaw).

The prior awards were mid/low HCC, had much better form overall and specifically symmetric laterals. Indeed, 'Bryon' captured the color beautifully.

In this candidate, the grower has 7 inflorescences which a CCM could make with a little grooming and judicious staking. Wait a few weeks for more flowers to open and bring it to judging. Good things happen to those who wait!!

Thanks for allowing me to participate.

Ginna Plude

This is a tough one. One the one hand with only two open flowers (the two partially open aren't judgeable) and 13 more buds it is well under the 'at least half open' guidance for a flower award. I think a culture award might be possible given the number of inflorescences for what looks to be a moderate size plant. The two awarded plants in OrchidPro only had a single inflorescence each, the 'Byron' had 2 flowers open on one inflorescence so it's possible to have more than one open per inflorescence despite the short-lived nature of the flowers. I have very little experience with Bulbophyllums so I would need to hear more discussion to decie whether a culture award might be appropriate.

Ed Weber

Assuming the color in these photos is accurate, this specimen far surpasses the two previous awards for color.

Assuming the measurements are correct, this specimen also surpasses the two previous awards for size. However, I have to say that in these photos, the petals appear to be much narrower than in the "Bryon" award, but they are given as being wider. A case where being in front of the plant would definitely help greatly.

Clearly it surpasses them for floriferousness as well.

I could support a cultural award. Cleaning up the dead leaf tips would increase that award dramatically.

On a non-judging note, I'm surprised it has no "aroma"!

Tom Mirenda

An interesting and desirable hybrid of the still uncharted new frontier of Bulbophyllum breeding.

While the form, particularly of petals could be improved upon in a next generation hybrid I am excited to see certain qualities in this particular clone of this grex:

Excellent bright coloration with a contrasting lip (Many such hybrids are somewhat dusky)

  • Exceptional floriferousness and successive blooming on a fairly small plant

  • Flowers emerging above the foliage for good visibility and presentation

  • Fragrance, notably sweet or pungent in the parentage, have been cancelled out! For the best.

On the opposite side of the coin:

  • Short-lived blooms

  • Messy floral arrangement requiring staking

  • Petals not in balance with sepals

  • Plant seems to be prone to brown tipping and unsightly foliage.

  • Flower seems small in size compared to lobbyi parent potential (seems to favor carunculatum in this regard)

All in all, still a desirable and interesting plant and lovely flower. I can see it receiving a mid HCC maybe 77 or 78pts

But I believe it to be a very good stepping stone or building block to create something much better in a future cross.

I suspect that these will make really terrific specimens as they mature and would be a welcome addition to most collections due to the longer bloom period that comes from the successive flowering inflorescence. I am curious how often it throws spikes and how long each spike is viably producing new blooms.

Tom Mirenda

Bob Winkley

Hi Sergey and Ed

Thank you for providing such an interesting candidate for the 'table.'

This is a beautifully grown and flowered plant which appears to be producing multiple inflorescences off the pseudobulbs or perhaps along the rhizome. If that is the case, it would be very helpful to know that statistic as well.

The color of the flower is superb - sepals and petals appear to be a nice clear yellow until you get to the basal section of the laterals where there is a very tiny suffusion of red. Not at all unpleasant since it coordinates well with the deeply colored 'bumpy' lip straight out of the Bulb. carunculatum parent.

I agree that this is a large flower, but it's quite stellate, perhaps because its segments are much longer than any of the awarded candidates. It also appears to have decent substance and a relatively glossy texture, both pluses. The segments may be a little broader at the base, but they do not feel as full as they are in the 'Bryon' clone. Where I get stuck with this flower is the falcate nature of the lateral sepals. In one flower they appear to be relatively symmetrical in shape, but the other is very uneven. Without being able to evaluate the latter flower in person it's hard to know whether it is still expanding or if it might be on its way out. I would much prefer that the laterals come directly down and not curve in as they are doing as it gives the flower an almost awkward 'muscle builder' look.

Even though this plant is well grown with many inflorescences I am not inclined towards a cultural award because of some spotting and damage on the leaves. I don't think I would nominate the plant on this flowering since the two flowers are quite different in shape. If it were nominated I would probably score it in the HCC range and would strongly encourage the grower to bring it back on a subsequent flowering if the flowers were either less falcate or more similarly shaped.

Bob W.

Laura Newton

Bulb. Jeff’s Houston Connection

In comparison to the prior awards I find this cultivar to be the most well-balanced looking flower, with good color saturation, and fairly good presentation.

I do find this an improvement over the parentage in flatness of the flower over mandibulare and the sturdiness of the flower over Frank Smith that can be rather floppy. The flowers are held well above the foliage which is super for this crossing.

This flower has nice form, the segments are nicely formed and have good width. The petals are nicely positioned and the lateral sepals have a whimsical caliper appearance which I always find charming.

The color is vibrant with good contrast between the bright golden yellow and the red to red-orange lip.

The size is good as are the other characteristics in the bottom grouping, along with really good floriferousness.

I find this flower to be better than the previous awards in almost all aspects. This would score a mid AM on my score sheet.

Cathy Higgins

The color, shape and size are superior to the previously awarded hybrids, so I would consider it for a flower award, maybe a low AM. I love the butter-yellow color that is apparently evenly distributed across all flower segments on all flowers. The plant is also much better flowered than the previous awards, making it, in my opinion, a candidate for a culture award.

Cathy Higgins

John Sullivan

Bulbophyllum Jeff’s Houston Connection

The candidate plant has several positive features. It has a higher flower plus bud count than the two awarded clones. Although only marginally more floriferous, this plant does not have a lot of growths which suggests to me the possibility of a future cultural award.

This flower is also larger than the awarded ones and I believe it has better color. I prefer the relatively clear yellow here as opposed to the somewhat muddy colors of the others.

While I generally like the proportions of the petals and sepals, I find the bowed aspect of the lateral sepals less than ideal. This sepal stance would preclude my scoring it an AM level, but I could see a high HCC with an eye to a CCM on a future flowering.

Trevor Yee

Firstly – kudos to the grower for producing such a floriferous specimen. My second thoughts were what the hybridiser was trying to achieve with this cross – since B. mandibulare’s individual flowers are quite closed – I suspect to produce a hybrid with a progressive flowering inflorescence with larger lobbii/carunculatum style flowers. The yellow and shape of our candidate is reminiscent of carunculatum (which is a parent of B. Frank Smith).

Compared to an existing AOS HCC award [Bryon 77 pts], our candidate is larger in most of the dimensions which is an advancement over the existing award. The colour is a nice clear yellow on all floral segments. The shape is somewhat symmetrical along the vertical except for the slight imbalance of the sepals.

On balance – I would recommend a quality award of 80 to 81 pts.

Carrie Buchman

Bulbophyllum Jeff's Houston Connection

Intense and clear color on candidate is better than previously awarded clones. Size is good compared with previous awards and consistent with parentage. Floriferousness is good and consistent with parentage. Ideally, sepals would be flat and not rolled at the margin. Overall Flower is nicely presented and is an improvement on its parents. Would nominate for a Flower Quality award and would point as in HCC range.

Leaf damage & plant presentation with significant artificial supports not ideal. Previously cultural awards to parents had significantly more flowers. Still a small plant so there is a lot of potential. Recommend a more natural display for judging in the future.

Kind Regards,

Carrie Buchman

Mark Werther

Bulbophyllum Jeff's Houston Connection.

Referring to the two previous awards of one and two flowers: ‘Bryon’ is an open star with orange tones - linear lower sepals. ‘Zia’s’ is closer to the judging form but as a star with its lower sepals straight like ‘Bryon’. The examples bright yellow color seems to be clearer than Zia. The bow legs on the example are not symmetrical or equal in length. I would need more time to research all three species to see if the uneven bow legs are considered judgable.

My direction is for no award or for a low HCC if advised by a Judge more knowledgeable than I in Bulbophyllums. I do like the flower and would be interested to see if the next flowering corrects the sepals. The plant has not been groomed for CCM showing. This brings up another question for future reference that is: Are we judging this type and giving credit for unopened flowers or more likely stay with the 50% rule knowing the short livedness of the flowers?

Mark Werther

Elena Skoropad

Very well grown Bulbophyllum, not a smelly one 😃

There are 2 HCCs in AOS database. Our candidate plant has significantly larger flowers in all segments. 8.5 cm NS is In question though. If this is confirmed I have no problem nominating this plant for flower quality award based on size, color and flower presentation. The color is more appealing that previously awarded plants. The candidate plant is very floriferous, if it would have more open flowers it would be a good candidate for a culture award. With only 2 open flowers it could be nominated to flower quality award and I would score in high HCC or lower AM 80 points

The grower did a good job. Bring it next year!

Thank you,


Deb Bodei

Bulbophyllum Jeff's Houston Connection

(Frank Smith x mandibulare)

Observations and Commentary

The plant is certainly floriferous. I do not necessarily think the staking is presenting the plant in the best way for judging. The plant itself is not pristine and could have benefited from grooming.

The flower form is generally improved over the previously awarded. I do like the upright dorsal and width is nice. The lateral sepals have a pronounced bow to them and one is not symmetrical but it could be from the way it was leaning against the leaf. The bowed legs do not bother me as much as the curling which could mean these flowers are already past prime. The color is very pleasing on this candidate. I do think this plant has potential.


I wouldn’t nominate it on these two flowers since I do not believe they are at their peak or the best the plant could give. There are several blooms on different inflorescences still coming along. I hate to say this especially since the flowers are short lived and it may be hard to catch some of the other blooms still coming along on other inflorescences, but I would have to encourage the exhibitor to groom the plant and try to bring it back.

Thank you,


Bill Thoms

Here are my thoughts.

Nice flower, well grown and well-flowered.

That said - staking is way too obtrusive, burnt leaf tips preclude a cultural award;

The mandibulare shows up in the spike length. Frank Smith (lobbii x carunculatum) has much shorter spike length.

Flower life isn't known from the photo but mandibulare lasts for a week or more.

The presentation ("WOW" factor) has been lost with the ring stake, the cutesy clips for the spikes and the lack of grooming.

I believe about half of our over 100 Cultural awards are strictly due to presentation so I am very aware of distractions.

Not an award-quality plant or flower at this time. If it were brought back with 75% + of the spikes open with clean leaves and unobtrusive staking, it would be a contender. Now it is just a confusion. I would say the same about my own plant (and do) - but I would do the things I mentioned and present a different plant.

Hope this is helpful.

The grower is to be commended on growing and schooled on showing.

I have only made one cross with mandibulare (mandibulare x echinolabium = Manchind) which has received 7 awards so far and has great promise for the future - but only with open flowers because it is so cupped.


Exhibitor - Waldor Orchids, NJ