Ceratostylis retisquama

Week 32 Plant 1: Nov 2, 2020

Ceratostylis retisquama


First plant for this week is Ceratostylis retisquama!

Ceratostylis retisquama in native to the Philippines. Natural habitat is trees in the area exposed to the sun at an altitude of 0-500 meters.

This species was described by Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach in 1857 (this name is accepted by WCSP Kew).

There are 14 AOS awards in OrchidPro, mostly cultural awards.


The plant is 56 cm by 52 cm, grown in a 26-cm square wood, slat basket in sphagnum moss, leaves are terete, interesting leaf bracts papery, ivory, tessellated brown

120 bright orange flowers on 90 inflorescences

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 3.0 cm; NS V - 3.5 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 0.5 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 2.0 cm;

Petal W - 0.4 cm; Petals L - 1.5 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 0.5 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 1.6 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 0.1 cm; Lip/Pouch L - 1.0 cm.

Column ivory, anther cap light orange

Substance pliable, texture highly crystalline.

Judges' Comments

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

One hundred twenty flowers on 90 inflorescences carried on a nicely grown plant. Flowers standard for species with average specifications not suggesting a flower award. Species blooms multiple times per year, usually spring thru fall, occasionally in winter. Bloom can extend over several months.

In this case, video not helpful to exhibitor but very helpful to judges as some non-flowered bare areas are disclosed, not readily apparent on still photos. Considering all factors, the candidate should qualify for a CCM,80-82. Plant still relatively small and, in time, will grow to obscure the basket. With the apparent good culture this grower demonstrates, a CCE will be in the offing.

Thanks for allowing me to participate.

Ed Webber (Accredited Judge, Mid-Atlantic Judging Center)

My initial reaction to this plant is "Wow! This HAS to deserve an award!" Having grown this plant and gotten an HCC on it (Weber's Wonder HCC/AOS) I have a soft spot for it. The contrast of the brilliant orange flowers against the dark green terete foliage is extremely pleasing. The crystalline nature of the flowers is fantastic and unlike many such flowers is fairly easy to capture in photographs.

Having said that, this plant is well represented in the award record with several cultural awards that far exceed the specimen in flower count and plant size. Not to take anything away from the grower. This is quite an accomplishment especially in our part of the world. But I don't think it stands up to the existing measure of a culture award for this species.

The image of the flower alone made me think a flower award might be in order until I looked up the existing flower awards. This one is noticeably smaller than those, perhaps due to the larger number of flowers. It seems that the flowers increase in size as the flower count goes down.

I would pass on this plant for an award even though it made me say "Wow!" (literally out loud). Such is the nature of orchid judging.


Ed Weber

Kristen Mason (Accredited Judge, Cincinnati Judging Center)

Beautifully grown plant with striking flowers. Flower color, texture and presentation typical for species.

I would pass on a quality due to inconsistencies on petal shape, smaller flower size and smaller width in segments when compared to quality awards

I would pass on cultural award - beautifully grown, but not enough flower, flowers per inflorescence or size of flowers or plant compared to floriferousness.

Deb Boersma (Student Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

I think this is a beautiful plant and well grown.

As far as the flower quality, it has good overall form, nice flat flowers. There seems to be some jaggedness on the top petal edges not evident in pictures of awarded plants on Orchid Pro. The colour of the sepals and petals is very vibrant and flowers have a nice crystalline texture. The ivory column and lighter colour anther cap has a nice contrast to the orange colour of the sepals and petals. The flower size is somewhat smaller than the other quality awarded plants but is in range as far as floriferousness is concerned.

I would nominate this plant for scoring for a flower quality award. I scored it at a HCC of 75 considering the flowers are smaller than the other HCC and AM awarded plants and it has jagged edge on the petals.

As far as a cultural award, it is a well grown healthy plant but I am not sure I would nominate it for a cultural award. It is a good size at 56 cm x 52 cm and 120 flowers is comparable to other cultural awards however, when I looked at the video the flowers were not evenly distributed over the whole plant. There was one section at the corner of the slat basket where was less growth and no flowers. For these reasons I would not nominate it for a cultural award.


Carrie Buchman (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Ceratostylis retisquama

This is a beautifully grown plant. The flowers are on the small side compared to previous awards, and there is nothing to distinguish the candidate from the previous awards, so I don’t think a flower quality award is appropriate. The floriferousness is 1.3 flowers/inflorescence which puts it lower end of the current CCM awards. I wish the flowers were more circumferentially arranged. There is a noticeable “bald spot” in the video. This plant has so much potential and I hope that I comes back to judging when it fills out a bit.

Tom Mirenda (Accredited Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

A terrific pendulous species once called Ceratostylis rubra. This is a fine and well flowered specimen, but typical for the species. There is nothing particularly remarkable about this particular clone, they are all nice and this one falls within the normal range of the species. While it is a reasonably large and well bloomed specimen, I don't feel that it is quite at the CCE standard. I have seen very large plants (usually grown as long pendulous hanging baskets of mounts.) while this is certainly a well grown example, I think it would have to be considerably larger and more densely flowered to be considered perhaps a low CCM could be granted if the other judges feel it is worthy...maybe 82 or 83 points.

Bob Winkley (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Thank you for sending along this candidate. Very well grown, decent number of flowers, flowers in very good shape. Looking at the awards, the flower size falls into the range set by the cultural awards, but does not measure up to the few flower quality awards granted to clones of this species.

The plant appears clean, not to many 'dings' on the foliage, perhaps a little water spotting. It does have a 'blank' spot on one side of the basket which is highlighted by the fact that there are no flowers being displayed by other growths - this shows up more prominently in the video. From what I can tell, the other cultural awards have both foliage and flowers evenly distributed, an aspect that this particular type of plant (sprawling/vining) definitely benefits from when considering a cultural award. Most of the other awards have higher flower counts on similarly sized plants. Also, in a few of the awards there are up to two flowers per inflorescence; this latter trait is being exhibited by our candidate so bravo to the grower for getting that to happen!

At this point, I would be inclined to pass on the plant due to the low flower count coupled with the blank spot. Perhaps in the future the grower can train a few growths around that area which will create a much more pleasing and potentially spectacular appearance.

All the best -

Bob W.

Deb Dodei (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Ceratostylis retisquama

Observations and Commentary

Assessing this plant for a cultural award. There are only two flower awards with photos to compare to this candidate is not up to par in form or color with those prior awarded (irregularity on margins of petals, color not as rich according to photos and smaller overall measurements).

The candidate is an attractive and well grown plant. There is a ‘hole’ or ‘gap’ of about 90 degrees on one side of the plant that looks like it might not be receiving the same amount of sun. This candidate is less flowered considering the more recent previously awarded plants.


I would not nominate this plant for an award on this flowering.

Thank you,


John Sullivan (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

This is a beautifully grown Ceratostylis suitably grown in basket, allowing the plant to ramble over the sides. The flowers appear to be fairly typical. A search of several cultural awards shows a potential for a greater number of flowers for a plant of this size. The candidate is well grown and the grower is to be commended and thanked for presenting us with a plant well on its way to a future cultural award. I would love to see it on a future flowering.

Mary Ann Denver (Student Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Ceratostylis retisquama

This is a beautifully grown, well flowered plant with clean foliage that almost completely surrounds the wooden slat basket it’s growing in.

The bright orange stellate flowers are evenly distributed over the entire plant creating a pleasing arrangement.

The crystalline texture adds to the overall aesthetic appeal.

There are three previous flower quality awards to Ceratostylis retisquama: 3 HCC’s (78 pts) Sept. 2018, (79 pts.) Sept. 2003 and (76 pts.) Oct. 2007, and one AM (82 pts) Jan. 2018 - the awarded plants had larger flowers and overall fuller segments.

Our candidate has some notching along the petal margins which combined with the smaller size of its flowers would preclude a flower quality award for me here, however I would recommend that this plant be considered for a cultural award.

There have been 8 prior CCM’s and one CCE to Ceratostylis retisquama the flower count and plant size’s are quite varied among these awards, but I feel that this plant with 120 flowers on 90 inflorescences circumferentially arranged over this beautifully presented plant would put it in CCM territory.

Thank you for having me participate!

Mary Ann Denver

Exhibitor - Laura Newton, FL (Accredited Judge, Florida North Central Judging Center)