Cattleya maxima var. semi-alba

Week 29: Oct 5, 2020

Cattleya maxima var. semi-alba 'La Pedrena' SM/JOGA

Week 29 Cattleya maxima semi alba Video.mp4

I would like to present new candidate for this week - Cattleya maxima var. semi-alba 'La Pedrena' SM/JOGA!

Gorgeous cattleya species!

Cattleya maxima Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 116 (1833).

Cattleya maxima occurs as an epiphyte on trees in dry forests from 100 to 1800 m of elevation, from Venezuela to northern Peru.

In OrchidPro we can find 95 awards!

Cattleya maxima var. virginalis 'La Pedrena' CHM/AOS (83 points) awarded in Sept 2015 in Chicago and I don’t know relationships between these two plants.

Looks like current candidate has the same clonal name ‘La Pedrena' but label looks different from AOS awarded plant. I believe that this plant came from Quintal Farms, Hawaii.

Please read information from exhibitor:

Cattleya maxima var. semi alba 'La Pedrena'

20 flowers and 6 buds on 9 inflorescences.

9 inflorescences:

A. 5 flowers

B. 1 bud

C. 3 flowers.

D. 2 flowers

E. 5 flowers

F. 1 flower

G. 4 flowers

H. 2 buds

I. 3 buds

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 11.4 cm; NS V - 14.0 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 1.4 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 7.9 cm;

Petal W - 3.8 cm; Petals L - 7.3 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 2.2 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 7.0 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 3.8 cm; Lip/Pouch L - 7.0 cm.

Size of the plant is 82.55 cm wide x 52 cm tall. Plant is in 10 inch cedar basket. Have owned plant since September 2014 (bought from Parkside Orchids).’

(Not sure if NS is correct - judging by picture of single flower NS looks larger then NSV, probably it’s over 14 cm?!).

Pictures are attached (first 2 photos made inside, other photos outside on natural light)

Judges' Comments

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Twenty flowers and six buds on nine inflorescences would qualify for a marginal CCM. Photos might not present the candidate to best advantage but the lack of proper judicious staking suggests suboptimal care and concern for display and presentation. Arrangement is one third of point score which requires continuous observation and staking early on in the growth cycle to present the plant without a haphazard appearance, which, unfortunately, this candidate displays.

On next bloom, a CCM should be sought.

Thanks for allowing me to participate.

Bob Winkley (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Hi Sergey -

This is not for my evaluation. Looking at the CHM and the candidate they look pretty identical to me - including the little streaks of color in the petals. The SITF blog indicates that the CHM award was submitted as var. semi-alba and determined to be var. virginalis. I have to 'assume' that the plant is either a division or a clone of the plant that that received the BM/JOGA.

Bob W.

Gina Plude (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

This is where virtual judging puts us at a disadvantage. It is a beautifully grown plant, that much is obvious. Unfortunately we can't see all the flowers up close. There are, as you mention, 95 awards covering all the varieties. Not being able to examine more of the individual flowers I cannot say whether a flower award might be appropriate. The one close up gives me pause only because it looks like there may be notching in the petals. As far as culture goes, while it is truly a gorgeous plant, for maxima it appears to be underflowered. Checking a number of awards, maxima seems to average closer or 7-8 flowers per inflorescence whereas the candidates is just a hair under 3 per inflorescence. The size of the flowers seems a bit undersized as well

A gorgeous plant and a credit to the grower but I would not nominate it.

Carrie Buchman (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Cattleya maxima var. semi-alba 'La Pedrena' SM/JOGA

This is a beautifully grown plant. Kudos to the grower. It does not appear to be flowering circumferentially (video does not cover all sides of the plant). C. maxima is highly awarded, so I compared this plant to the full roster of the awards and to the awards for semi-albas only. As best as I can tell, the flowers appear to be same as the CHM awarded to this clonal name. Generally, awarded plants have more flowers per inflorescence than the candidate – The semi-albas have, on average 7-8 flowers/inflorescence and for all the awards, the average is 6-8 with some as high as 12 flowers per inflorescence. Flower size on the candidate is on par with the awarded plants. From the still photos, the inflorescences do not seem to be upright, so the flowers do not display nicely above the foliage.

I would pass on this plant, and it may be a case where the photos are just not doing the plant justice.

Kind Regards,

Carrie Buchman

Kristen Mason (Accredited Judge, Cincinnati Judging Center)

The plant presented - Cattleya maxima is a beautiful, well-flowered plant with clean flowers and mostly clean plant that presents around the entire plant.

When doing research of the established varieties - this flower fits within the var. virginalis and very closely resembles the AOS awarded "La Pedrena" in color, form and presentation.

AOS species identification task force determined that the awarded 'La Pedrena" was virginalis and was originally awarded under var. semi-alba.

When comparing the presented plant to the awarded plant, while it has more flowers overall, it has fewer flowers per inflorescence and is slightly smaller in its parts.

With an AM of 83 on the awarded plant, I feel that the presented plant would point similar to the awarded "La Pedrena".

Another possible consideration would be culture.

There are presently 8 CCMs on record in AOS for maxima.

unfortunately, all of the cultural awards have more flowers, more flowers per inflorescence with slightly larger flowers and slightly wider segments.

Unfortunately, as much as I love this presentation and would love to be able to grow at this level, I would pass.

Mark Werther (Accredited Judge, Mid-Atlantic Judging Center)

Cattleya maxima var. semi-alba 'La Pedrena' SM/JOGA

When I first looked at the number and distribution of flowers I was initially impressed.

I recognized that I was more familiar with the taller vertical bulbed types. I was less familiar with this type plant that represents the bunched smaller growth types.

The non-regular distribution of growths does not bother me in the least.

I did enjoy seeing the distribution of the flowers mostly around the central circumference of the plant. As best as I could tell, this represented about 3/4 of the projection. That in itself was good and the twenty flowers covered the plant well. I enjoyed seeing the semi-alba form.

However, as I continued to look at the flowers and presentation and the comparisons to awarded cultivars, I became very disappointed. I will list my responses:

1. All of the inflorescences appeared as if they were unsupported.

2. Most of the flowers then looked droopy.

3. The droopyness then detracted from the vertical dorsals and especially the petals which were not held horizontally but were falling forward and mostly downwards.

4. I believe to be awarded, a percentage of the flowers are to be judged, not just one or two of twenty.

5. The striations are important. In this case they are not distinctive and might even detract from the petals.

6. If we judged as if the plant with pendant flowers was in situ, then it would have a chance for a CCM, but we do not judge that way on this type of large flowered species cattleya.

If the grower would spend the time next flowering to prestake and position the inflorescences, I believes that I could extend both a flower and CCM award.

Mark Werther

Cathy Higgins (Accredited Judge, Mid-Atlantic Judging Center)

Cattleya maxima var. virginalis 'La Pedrena' received a CHM in 2015 with 11 flowers on 2 inflorescences. The photos in OrchidPro show a compact plant with the flowers upright and facing forward. If they are staked, the stakes are not visible to this judge's eye. Our candidate this week has twice as many flowers on 9 inflorescences, but they tumble forward on top of each other and onto the plant's foliage. The plant is clearly well-grown but not groomed to the standards we expect in a culture award. So, despite its floriferousness, no award on this flowering.

Cathy Higgins

Deb Bodei (Student Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Cattleya maxima var. semi-alba 'La Pedrena’


This species is one of my favorites! This plant is certainly well grown and looks so well established it could be growing on a tree in Peru. Beautiful specimen. I do not think there is any direct relationship between the candidate and the awarded virginalis since they are different varieties that have very different appearances.

I wish there were more photos, or the plant raised up a bit to display the blooms better. I think it might be the positioning of the plant and the way it is hanging that is making the blooms appear droopier than they really are, but I can’t be sure.


I would have to pass on a nomination since the number of flowers per inflorescence is low compared to prior awarded. The overall and segments sizes are also smaller than prior awarded and I can’t be sure if the flowers are just not held upright enough or if it is the way the plant is hanging. I would definitely recommend more photos next time for virtual judging and additional close up photos. There is definitely one bloom near the top right that looks like it has good form and is presented well and I would like to have seen more like that.

Thank you for considering my comments,


Exhibitor - Boby Huffard, PA