Paphiopedilum gardneri (wilhelminae)

Week 3: Apr 5, 2020

Carousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel image

Paphiopedilum gardneri (wilhelminae)

Paphiopedilum gardineri

These species created a mess in orchid world.

  1. Paph. gardineri (Guillemard) Pfitzer, 1894 is not accepted name by World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (Kew).

Accepted name is Paph. glanduliferum (Blume) Stein, 1892.

  1. It’s still unknown if Paph. glanduliferum and Paph. wilhelminae are the same or two different species. Both of them could be found in New Guinea.

  2. By WCSP (Kew) both names: Paph. glanduliferum (Blume) Stein, 1892 and Paph. wilhelminae L.O. Williams, 1942 are treated as separate species.

  3. This Paph is also knows as:

Paph. praestans,

Paph. striatum,

Paph. glanduliferum var. wilhelminae,

Paph. glanduliferum var. praestans, and possible more different names…

Harold Koopowitz in his article ‘The Genus paphiopedilum’, Orchid Digest Vol. 82-4, 2018, stated that all four species (wilhelminae, glanduliferum, gardineri , praestans) should be treated as one and Paph. wilhelminae L.O. Williams, 1942 should be accepted name.

In AOS you can find all of these species which created some confusion at Orchid Judging. In OrchidPro we can see:

Paph. glanduliferum – 27 AOS Awards (including Paph. glanduliferum var. wilhelminae). Most recent award is Paph. glanduliferum ‘Golden Boy’ AM 81 pts., 2014 (4 flowers on 1 infl., 12.8 NS).

Paph. wilhelminae – 21 AOS Awards (including Paph. glanduliferum var. wilhelminae). Most recent award is Paph. wilhelminae ‘Drogon’ AM 80 pts. 2019 (2 flowers, 1 bud on 1 infl., 12.7 NS).

Paph. glanduliferum ‘Golden Boy’ doesn’t look like my plant at all, but Paph. glanduliferum ‘Fiona Gan King Ing’ HCC 76 pts, 2011 looks very similar to my plant (2 flowers, 2 bud on 2 infl., 12.0 NS).

Paph. wilhelminae ‘Drogon’ AM 80 pts. 2019 is very similar to my plant too.

Our candidate has 2 flowers on one 26 cm staked inflorescence.

Flowers - 12.0 cm NS, dorsal sepal wide – 2.2 cm, petals -1.0 cm wide. Petals are pleasantly twisted.

One mature growth and 2 small new grows, leaf span – 26 cm. Plant is in 3 ¼ “ plastic pot, filled with bark and large perlite.

Flower color base more white than yellow (white to ivory); dorsal striped vertically; dark burgundy. Petals dark burgundy. Flowers are glossy, very intense color.

Judges' Comments

Cathy Higgins

The flower has good color and the size is within range. However, it's a young plant. Two flowers on one inflorescence doesn't get it there for me. Suggest that the owner grow it up and bring it back with no fewer than three but preferably four flowers. Would like to see multiple growths on the plant.


Albert V. Messina M.D

I would not worry about what other taxonomists think about names of the plant: The only one that counts is Kew. Kew says praestans, it's praestans!!

Two flowers are quite nicely displayed on this young plant, likely first bloom. Color is fine .Dorsal might be mildly hooded, which would result in slight downpointing on a more mature plant. Balance is fine. Praestans, a New Guinea multifloral, can produce as many as 6 flowers on one inflorescence, averaging 3.3 flowers on awarded plants. Overall, ow flower count precludes award. I think, because it takes about two years to mature a growth to bloom, a few more years should produce an awardable plant.

Thanks for allowing me to participate in this discussion.

Christian Carrillo

My comments on the paph:

  • The color and striping of the dorsal is excellent but it is a little narrow (specifically at the base) in overall flower conformation.

  • I love the rich, deep mahogany color of the pouch. I do wish the color was suffused thorough the entire pouch -- top to bottom. Better examples of the species have the pouch suffused with color to the tip of the pouch.

  • The flower has lovely symmetry and nice spacing on the inflorescence. I do wish the dorsal was a little more upright though.

  • In comparison to recent awards, a third flower on the candidate's inflorescence would definitely make me more willing to potentially score the plant.

Mark Werther

Elena’s exercise points out, to me, there is a problem when everything is called wilhelminae. I always thought that the praestans was distinct based on shape and lighter colors combinations, but I am not a taxonomist.

I wonder if anyone did a genetic review of these four.

I believe this problem came to a head with the designation of plant(s) from Bill Wilson, but apparently there is still disagreement.

With the introduction of Paph. Susan Booth (glanduliferum (or whatever) x Rothschildianum) years past, a dark flower reaction took place and was similar to generating dark hybrid flowers that could be produced with the relatively recent realization that using Paph. adductum v anitum could produce very dark well formed flowers. Susan Booth has 143 awards. Registration was in 1983.

To me the object was to select a species flower similar to glanduliferum ‘A-dorable’ AM, 83pts 4/27/07. Two flowers at 13cm. To my view beautiful form, especially dark coloring and striping. Petals with twists and edged in black. By using that form – probably the best hybrids/Susan Booths could be produced.

Reviewing all of the species awarded types, pleasant confirmation of the segments is often missing with dorsals of many forms and petals in many different shapes, many I find comparatively poor. Often tan uninteresting colors.

Getting back to Elena’s example, I like the form, the balance and the stance of the petals and of course the consistent dark coloring. Twisting of petals is attractive and consistent. Two flowers of ‘A-dorable’ have measurements with 1cm more in NS. About half of the awards are shown with single inflorescence and two flowers. It would be nice to include the dorsal width measurements.

The cm difference does not reduce my opinion. I could nominate this flower as a fine example.

Deb Bodei

General Observations:

Based on the size of the plant and number of blooms we are considering this candidate for a possible flower award.

Considerations (considering other awards for comparison; both glanduliferum and wilhelminae):

- the candidate is well-grown, well-groomed and staked for best presentation of the blooms

- the blooms are symmetrical with good form; symmetry noted in both the dorsal and the twisted petals

- color is good overall with nice intensity and complimented by a shiny texture

- blooms are in their prime and not fading as evidenced by the whiteness in the dorsal, the shiny texture and condition of the petals

- dorsal is very nicely contrasted with no breaks in the vertical striping

- the synsepal is on the smaller side, more like the glanduliferum and would give the bloom a more balanced look if it were a little larger

Recommendations for nomination:

I would nominate this plant for a flower award based on its overall appearance contributed to by its color, form and stance. I think it could be awarded between 80-83 points.

Thank you,


John Sullivan

This is a good exercise. There has perpetually been confusion between these names. Looking at both of the accepted names only, namely P. glanduliferum and P. wilhelminae as guided by OrchidPro, it makes sense to me to compare any candidate with the best and most recent of these 2 recognized species. I confess that I did not go through all awards of both, but comparing the candidate to a number of recent of each, the candidate appears to come up short. You don't specify whether NS is V or H, I am guessing H. When we judge we need ALL the measurements. DS is 2.2cm wide by ??long? Petals are 1.0 cm wide by??long?

It is difficult to make a determination without more info. The color looks very good, better than some awarded ones. As I stated earlier, I think thee plant needs to be judged against the best of the conglomerate group because of thee uncertainty involved.

Best regards,


Ed Weber

Based solely on a review of the record and not my extensive experience with this species (sarcasm) I find it to be about average in form and color and exactly average in floriferousness. This is by comparison with other awards labelled wilhelminae which I am told by an expert friend that this is the accepted name for this species. I am concerned with the hooding on the dorsal, however, the FCC award Ibn's Magic Touch also exhibits a highly hooded dorsal. However, that award also has a much better petal stance. The natural spread of 12 is above the average of 11.8 but that is due to the petal stance. The color saturation on this specimen is excellent, as best I can deduce considering difference in lighting and photography. I like the coloration of the pouch but am less enthused about the angle at which the pouch is held relative to the rest of the flower. With two flowers on one inflorescence it is typical of a first bloom. I would not nominate this plant for an award, although I do think it is a nice flower, I don't see that it elevates the species in any way.

Mr. Ed

Elena Skoropad

The color of dorsal is nice, the color of pouch is deep maroon, petals are very attractive. The size is slightly larger than average. The flower is symmetrical, nicely presented. The dorsal is a bit narrow and slightly cupped. I would prefer to see 3 flowers and more established pant. However, Paph wilhelminae produces low count of flower; 2 flowers in average. Bring it next year; it has a potential.

Olaf Gruss

Dear Sergej,

Your plant is Paph. wilhelminae. It is typical with the low numbers of flowers and the dark color.

Paph. gardineri was never described officially. There exist only a sketch of. Paph. wilhelminae is perhaps a lost species. Paph. praestans is really different.

For me on the base of the actual informations Paph. glanduliferum is a different but lost species. It is very different to the so named gardineri. But it is better not to use the name gardineri because it is never described and is really the same like wilhelminae. Wilhelminae is very different to praestans too.

Best greetings and be careful


Sergey Skoropad

Thanks everyone who sent comments about Paph. gardineri.

As we can see, this mystery Paphiopedilum is not easy to place in correct spot for judging.

There are four names circulated in orchid community and at least three we can find in OrchidPro: Paph. gardineri; Paph. wilhelminae (21 AOS awards); Paph. glanduliferum (27 AOS awards) and Paph. praestans (21 AOS awards).

In all there awards I can see totally different paphs judged together.

I believe that we are dealings with actually two different species: Paph. wilhelminae and Paph. praestans.

Because gardineri and praestans is not accepted by WCSP (Kew), it’s became even more confusing.

Olaf Gruss made great points how to separate two species (or whatever they named): one is smaller with few flowers and very dark color and another is larger, produced 4 to

6 flowers and lighter color. Also he said - they just looks different.

Actually, Harold Koopowitz separated praestans and wilhelminae in Orchid Digest Vol. 82-4, 2018.

Pictures clearly show differences.

I believe that my paph is wilhelminae and 2 flowers is what it should produce. Do we need to see more flowers ? - not sure (in some cases more is not better). I saw wilhelminae with 3 flowers and they not better. I prefer to see two flowers with good shape, size and rich color. I just wish that dorsal sepal will be little wider and flatter.

Is it young plant? Yes, it is, but it doesn’t matter if powers are fine. Even on mature plant I’d like to see 2 perfect flowers in the future rather than 3 OK flowers.

I haven’t ever seen these species with such rich color and fine shape.

I hope this plant will produce even better flowers next time.

Thank you all,


Paph. wilhelminae

Paph. praestans

Exhibitor - Sergey and Elena Skoropad, NJ