Vanda coerulea

Week 31, Plant 2, Oct 27 2020

Vanda coerulea

(‘Flat Petals’ x ‘Superb’)

Week 31 P 2 Vanda coerulea Video.MOV

Vanda coerulea, also called as The Blue Vanda is native to Northeast India, Myanmar, Thailand and south-west China. This species was described by William Griffit and Lindley in 1847.

There are 54 AOS awards in OrchidPro (61 total), including 5 FCC!

Please read information from exhibitor:

‘Vanda coerulea (‘Flat Petals’ x ‘Superb’).

Fifth generation line bred, first bloom seedling from Orchids Limited.

Ten flowers on one 40 cm inflorescence.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 9.5 cm; NS V - 9.0 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 4.0 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 4.0 cm;

Petal W - 4.0 cm; Petals L - 4.5 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 5.0 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 5.5 cm;

Lip W - 2.0 cm; Lip L - 1.9 cm

Plant height 40 cm

Leaf Span 25 cm’

Orchids Limited mentioned on their website this variety of Vanda coerulea as Lord Rothschild’s variety:

‘Lord Rothschild's variety was carefully described in the late 1800's in The Orchid Album. Natural tetraploid.’

Pictures are attached (first 4 photos done by DSRL camera and last 3 by phone)

Judges' Comments

Deb Boersma

I am a first year student judge with no where to judge, this is a learning experience for me.

I really like the vibrant color of these flowers and the tessellation is well defined. I also like the dark color of the lip.

The flower count and size of the flowers are within the range of other awarded plants. The flowers are well arrangement on the inflorescence. The issue that I have is the flower form, I realize that being a species it’s not going to have that ideal form that judges look for but some of the flowers have petals that are significantly curved upwards while other flowers have more forward facing petals. This curved upward trait is very evident in the first photo. There are awarded plants where the flowers are much flatter. For this reason and the fact that there are already 61 AOS awards I would pass.

Tom Mirenda

Arguably the most stunning of all vandas due to coloration and floriferousness it may be the most important of all the species for breeding incredibly beautiful colors and patterns into the hybrids. If only this were just as true for its form issues. In this case, we have a clone derived from two seemingly line bred award quality parents, (I didn't see if the parents were actually awarded though)/ It doesn't really matter. The color and pattern here is truly gorgeous, the size appears to be superior. The sepals are exceptionally broad and round..... the only drawback is the twisting of the petals, which is the nature of this species. Previous awards (I think) have been dependent on the timing of judgings ad in my experience, they all twist over time. If they can be brought to judging at the 'moment' petals are in line with the sepals, they will generally be acceptable for awarding. I think this clone is definitely a special one. If shown 20 or 30 years ago, clearly an FCC. Today, probably a mid AM. Thank you for showing this amazing flower. It is always a thrill to see this species in bloom! Someday I would love to find it in the wild and understand its pollination biology.

Al Messina

Ten flowers on one inflorescence grown on a young plant(?first bloom?). Size and count below average (median) for the species but with continued excellent care,increased size and count are reasonably assured. Color is good but definition might be improved-better in cooler conditions. One puzzling observation: The petals appear mostly horizontal on the still images but seem to have become flattened on the video. Was this a manual assist?

The standards for an award are quite high for this species:Even several of David Grove’s flower awards might not be granted at a judging today. I’ll pass on this pretty plant today but will definitely be looking forward to seeing it again on another bloom.

Thanks for allowing me to participate.

Kristen Mason

Beautiful striking Vanda coerulea.

I love the crisp white in the center of the flower. The intensity of the yellow on the lip and the coloration on the anther cap as well as how very deep the color is on the lip.

There is nice overlap and shape to the lateral sepals.

There is a lot of crowding on the inflorescence. Inconsistency in the shape of the dorsals. The carriage of the petals is problematic

When compared to the last 6 awarded blue type - this clone needs a few more flowers, larger size, better carriage to the petals and less crowding.

Impressive, but not quite up to the award standards

Thank you for the opportunity to see this beautiful species

Mark Werther

Vanda coerulea.

Fifth generation ('Flat Petals' x 'Superb').

This is one of my favorites based on the beautiful blue patterned reticulations and the compactness of the plants. When looking at coerulea, the question should arise whether there is any infusion of Euanthe sanderiana that was used to produce Vanda rothschildiana. The sanderiana can diminish or eliminate the twisting in the petals and create a much fuller flower. Because of sanderiana's 60 cm. wingspan and broader leaves, it will enlarge the coerula half.

I noted the names of the sibling and focused on 'Flat Petals'. What does that mean to me? Are they trying for flat petals that could be very desirable? Are they using it knowing that they may get an in between or are they assuming it will come out with the twisted petals? There is no comment.

The twist in the petals can often cause a disagreement with the judges depending on their philosophies on flatness vs. original in situ 90 degree twisting characteristics.

Looking at the candidate, i need to review the following:

1. How close is the plant to typical coerulea form? It looks like straight coerulea structurally.

2. How are the petals presented with the amount of twist?. This looks like in situ coeruleas as it maintains a 90 degree twist, even as an F5. The twist is a natural characteristic and I do not object to it even if the breeding was designed to eliminate it. I believe the hooks under the columns also are an identifier.

3. What is the intensity and color of the flower? The blue purple is vibrant and the markings are excellent.

4. Size and number of flowers. The averages are about 10cm. horizontal, 10cm. vertical and 10 flowers. This is a little smaller, but close otherwise.

5. Flatness and proportion of sepals? Excellent!

If Lord Rothschild's Variety is part of the breeding heritage, it certainly added to these flowers.

I compare the plant by flower projection and color, although only 'Orchid Alley's Cloud' has 20 degree petal twist. 'Orchid Alley's Cloud' with 12 flowers with an AM of 88 points from 2014, flowers 12 x 13cm, and 'Judy's Blue Delight' from 2013 with 7 flowers 8.8 x 9.2cm HCC 76. Since both of these previous awards do not have the twist or reduced twist to the petals I am not sure if they are pure coeruleas without more information.

The plant is still young and will probably increase in number of flowers and size. The presentation is quite nice and therefore I am at a low AM.

I wonder if Orchid Limited has any left?

Mark Werther

Martin Motes

Vanda coerulea has long been prized and cultivated in Thailand. In the 1970’s plants identified as V. coerulea began to emerge that were vastly superior in flower color, form and size to any forms of the species that had previously been seen. The plants were also much larger than wild collected plants which rarely exceed 22 cm in width. Unlike wild plants of V. coerulea whose petals twist 180 degrees, presenting the back side to the front, these improved types present their petals untwisted. Frequently, the lips of these improved types lack the deeply notched lateral lobes with a sharp point on one side characteristic of wild collected V. coerulea. The color of the improved types is darker and the pattern of tessellation more intense, all of these are qualities which emerge in hybrids but are virtually unknown in wild populations. Dr Surawit Wannakrairoj of Thailand has concluded based on DNA that all of these improved types are in fact hybrids.

Orchid Limited seems to have come upon a strain of V. coerulea with exceptional depth of color and clarity of tessellation. The plant size and the side lobes denote this as the true V. coerulea Griff. ex Lindl. Two recent awards also display the characteristics of true V. coerulea. "Crystelle" FCC/AOS is also the forma delicata, which accounts for part of its high score. 'Orchid Alley's Cloud 9" AM/AOS, a blue form, is more comparable to the plant we have in hand.

The AM of 88pts may well have fallen short of an FCC because the inflorescence only carried 12 flowers, and V. coerulea is capable of half again as many.

Our plant has 10, not bad for a first bloom but less than the desirable number.

The AM has flowers that are 30% larger than our plant.

Finally both the AM and the FCC have petals which have revolved a full 180 degrees and present themselves in the same plane as the sepals unlike our plant.

Our plant is a debutant learning her dance steps and may in future be awardable but not on this inflorescence which should have been staked upright.

It is very encouraging to see this strain of V. coerulea being propagated.

Stay well,


Elena Skoropad

There are 61 awards for Vanda coerulea in Orchid Pro. Awarded plants have different color forms, different shape and presentations.

I love the color, presentation and flatness of flowers of our candidate. The pattern of tessellation makes this vanda very attractive. The size is pretty good. The flower is relatively flat and round (twisted petals does not bother me because it’s natural for Vanda coerulea), segments are fully and proportional. The flower form is better than some of previously awarded plants, this looks like an improvement in form and shape.

Good presentation, I wish the plant has more flowers so it would qualify for a higher award. I would nominate this plant for flower quality award and would be in high HCC or lower AM range. Kudos to the grower, excellent job!

Thank you,


Trevor Yee

The twisted petals are a good indication this is the genuine species type. The colour is excellent and the tessellations are well defined. The overall shape is good and is nicely filled-in. The size of the individual flowers are on the smaller side. AOC awarded flowers are at least over 10cm. The flower count is also lower than desired. The display of the flowers are very bunched. The plant looks relatively young and overtime I'm sure it will produce something worthy of award quality. On this flowering I am not recommending any award.

Deb Bodei

Vanda. coerulea

Observations and Commentary

With only one inflorescence, assessing this plant for a potential flower award. Kudos to the grower on the happy plant for a species not easy to grow. It’s always nice to see this stunningly colored species.

The species is highly awarded with a number of recently awarded to this variety. The standards are high due to improved line breeding, so I only looked at HCC’s and AMs and not FCC’s of the last 10-12 years to give the candidate a fair chance. There are two issues with this plant, one being the arrangement of the inflorescence. The flowers are bunched up and almost look as if they are growing in a ball. Culture can improve the elongation of the inflorescence when in bud by reducing the light a bit and allowing the plant to reach for it. Then the petals are twisted backwards instead of facing forward and filling in the circle of the flower face.

Color is very nice including lip with clear and distinct markings on the sepals and petals. Size of blooms and measurement of segments are smaller overall than recently awarded.


I would not nominate the plant for an award at this time.

Exhibitor - Bayard Saraduke, NJ