Habenaria medusa

Week 28: Sept 28, 2020

Habenaria medusa

Movie 2_1.mp4

Tonight I would like to introduce fantastic plant - Habenaria medusa! I know, I should keep my emotions low, but I can’t - WOW! That’s how I will describe new candidate.

Habenaria medusa Kraenzl., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 16: 203 (1892).

Habenaria medusa is a beautiful species native to Southeast Asia (Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi Borneo, and is occasionally also found in Laos and Vietnam). This is a plant that goes dormant in the fall and winter.

There are 27 AOS awards including 4 CCE.

First award - CHM, in August 2006, latest - CCE, in October 2019.

Largest number of flowers and buds in OrchidPro has Habenaria medusa 'Marissa Gittelman' CCE/AOS 91 pts: 195 flowers, 150 buds on 11 inflorescences.

Information from exhibitor:

‘Here is a Habenaria medusa, for cultural award consideration. Growing this plant about 10 years.

Plant - 77cm diameter foliage, 86 cm diameter around flowers

Grown in 37cm tall plastic pot 104cm tall.

16 inflorescenses - at time of photo estimated 224 buds, and 448 flowers, for 672 total (buds still tucked into bracts were not counted)

Verified after all buds had opened - exactly 690 flowers, Max of 48 flowers on two largest inflorescenses.

The longest first flower to tip of infl. is 45cm. the shortest is 34cm (The length of the growths from bottom to top of inflorescence is the only way to accurately measure these - there is no distinct line to distinguish the basal growth from the inflorescence).

# infl. - flower count: 2 - 48; 1 - 47; 1 - 46; 2 - 45; 1 -44; 1 - 43; 2 - 42; 3 - 41; 2 - 40; 1 - 27.

No. Flowers - 448;

No. Buds - 242;

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 8.0 cm; NS V - N/M;

Dorsal Sep. W - 0.8 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 0.9 cm;

Petal W - N/M; Petals L - N/M;

Lat/Sepal W - N/M; Lat/Sepal L - N/M;

Lip W - N/M; Lip L - N/M.

No. of Inflor. - 16;

Inflor. Length - 45 cm;

Plant Height - 104 cm;

Plant Width - 77 cm.

Inflorescence - Measured from first flower to tip of infl.’

Judges' Comments

Joanna Eckstrom

Some plants simply take one's breath away - this is clearly one of them. Plant appears to be very well-grown, is well-groomed with immaculate foliage, and very evenly flowered. I would not hesitate to nominate for cultural award and would likely score mid-CCE.

Thank you for inviting everyone's input.

Best regards,

Joanna K Eckstrom

Al Messina

This is a plant that warms the heart of everyone: Perfectly grown and groomed. The grower should get a special award for keeping it alive for ten years--a major accomplishment.

As students, we learn that all plants/flowers are scored against a theoretical model of perfection. This plant gets as close as possible ,especially when one considers the longevity and difficulty maintaining the required conditions for growth/regrowth over a long period of time. All conditions for a high CCE appear to have been achieved, most beautifully the arrangement and flower count better than any prior award.

As often as I have asked the presenter of this series to refrain from editorializing, I think we all can agree that this is a special circumstance and forgive his obvious excitement. In my opinion, this plant would be a candidate for the Butterworth.

Thanks for allowing me to participate.

Tom Mirenda

Breathtaking plant! Perfect culture, deserving of a CCE. Perfect even growth, perfect foliage…

little evidence of trimming, and shown at the perfect stage of anthesis

Awesome flower count, all flowers appear to be in excellent shape down to the tips of the spectacular fringes.

(I have seen a larger plant than this in Bloom at the Eric Young Orchid Foundation attaching photo)

….but as spectacular as it was the presentation was not as perfect or uniform as this one.

There were faded flowers….and there were brown tips on its foliage.

The grower deserves extra kudos for the impeccable and almost imperceptible staking.

I am particularly struck by the rhythmic leaflets on the inflorescence which I’d never noticed as a feature of the plant before.

I think a CCE of no less than 95 points is warranted.

It is a tragedy that this masterpiece cannot be actually judged this year.

Deb Bodei

Well, this one was easy. I am handing this in now so you don't have extra to consolidate at the end of the week with the virtual judging demo to plan for.

Habenaria medusa


Not much for us to research: ). This plant is as pristine as you can get and extremely well-flowered. Even though video and photo indicate it is not bloomed exactly even around the entire circumference, it presents itself as if it is by nature of the blooms and inflorescences. This plant is truly stunning from all angles from what we can observe.


I would nominate this plant for a cultural award and enjoy being part of a team that judged s high-scoring CCE if the photos are representative. The only minor deduction in points I can see is in the bloom condition, specifically the lip. The fimbriation of the lip margin is not entirely uniform and has a somewhat muddy coloring basally. However, these minor bloom conditions do not detract much from the overall breathtaking appearance.

Thank you for including my commentary,


Ed Weber

THIS plant is what judging is all about! It is successes like this that make the AOS awards system so important... recognizing the outstanding results of the grower's hard work.

This specimen is superior in all ways to all of the CCE entries in OrchidPro. In addition, it is extremely clean and well groomed and the staking is both effective and unobtrusive. I actually didn't notice the staking until my third view of the video clip and I had to actually look for it.

I would have absolutely NO PROBLEM nominating this for a CCE and I would expect to score in the mid to high 90's.

Congratulations to the grower and thank you for letting us see this magnificent display!

Ed Weber

Mark Werther

Habenaria medusa

One of the most spectacular presentations that I have ever seen in 60 years of observation and growing. The display of flowers and condition of plant is close to perfect. Far outshows previous high AM's and 2019 CCE. My general reaction and description is "breathtaking".

There might be a few trimmed leaves and I am leaving room for more inflorescences next flowering with a 96 point evaluation. Congratulations to the grower for superlative cultural mastery.

Mark Werther

Trevor Yee

Even before viewing the comparative AOS cultural awards - my immediate reaction was that this specimen was extremely well grown, flowered and presented. It certainly had the genuine WOW factor!

All the inflorescences are of even height, each at least 2/3 open and presented in a nice circular arrangement.

The highest cultural AOS award was CCE 94 points for 'Cat's Whiskers'. Our candidate is far superior for quality, presentation and floriferousness.

I have no hesitation in recommending a CCE of at least 95 ~ 97 points.

To compare, the AOC criteria for Awards of Excellence of Plant Culture are:

ACC - Award of Cultural Commendation 75 to 79 pts

ACM - Award of Cultural Merit 80 to 84 pts

ACE - Award of Cultural Excellence 85pt +

The elements for consideration are:

SIZE: The plants should be of a significant superior size to that reasonably expected of a normal robust and mature example of its kind.

CONDITION: The plant should have clean, appropriately mature foliage, and be well presented and free from any significant mechanical damage or blemish that detracts from the overall effect. The quality of the foliage should be in proportion to that reasonably expected on a plant of the kind and size.

FLORIFEROUSNESS: The quantity of flowers should be unusually large in number and be in proportion to the size of the plant, having regard to any growths or pseudobulbs capable of blooming at the time it is submitted for the award.

John Sullivan

What a fantastic specimen! The previous CCE of 94 points was awarded to the grower of a plant which is dramatically exceeded by this plant using any number of comparisons. The candidate has 3 times as many flowers of a similar size. If we calculate the number of flowers plus buds per inflorescence on the previously awarded one we get 21.3. The candidate sports a whopping 48! In addition, the plant appears to be superbly grown with immaculate foliage.

The only question in my mind is how far to raise the bar. I am not sure how much more of an increase in bloom is possible for this species. If I had the privilege of judging this plant in person, I think my score would be 98 points.

Thanks for sharing this exercise with us and kudos to the grower for an amazing accomplishment!

Elena Skoropad


What a wonderful plant!

This is the easiest plant to judge so far!

It Is more superior and floriferous that all previous CCEs and all previously awarded habenaria medisa. The flower count is unbelievable, the presentation is great; plant condition is immaculate. I would love to nominate this plant for culture award and I would be scoring in CCE 97 points. I wouldn’t mind to go even higher than that.

Kudos to the grower! Only one person can grow habenaria like that on East Cost 👍

Excellent job!

Thank you,


Carrie Buchman

Habenaria medusa

This is a beautifully grown specimen plant deserving of a cultural award. With ~43 flowers & buds per inflorescence, its floriferousness exceeds that of previously CCE awarded plants. Foliage is clean. The plant is well presented with good spacing between the flowers, creating an ascetically appealing display. I would not nominate it for a flower quality award as the flower size is smaller/on par with than many previous awards, and the basal lip orange, at least in the photos provided, is not as intense as the photos in OP. Kudos to the grower.

Kind Regards,

Carrie Buchman

Exhibitor - Sarah Hurdel, MD (Accredited Judge, National Capital Judging Center)