Epicattleya A. M. Gentle

Week 34 Plant 2: Nov 17, 2020

Epicattleya A. M. Gentle (Cattleya labiata x Epidendrum ciliare)

Week 34 Plant 2 Epicattleya A. M. Gentle Video.MOV

Today I would like to present second plant of this week - Epicattleya A. M. Gentle (Cattleya labiata x Epidendrum ciliare). This primary hybrid was originated and registered by Gentle in 1950 and no awards for this cross (at least under Epicattleya)!!!

Although I’m not allowed to says something emotionally, but when I saw this plant personally I said - WOW, so beautiful 😍.

But, consider that this cross didn’t receive any AOS awards in 70 years!, I would leave all comments and opinions to the judges and students.

In OrchidPro you can find 92 awards on C. labiata and 48 awards on Epidendrum ciliare!

Please read information about plant and flowers:

11 flowers total and 0 buds on 2 arched unstacked inflorescences (6 flowers on first inflorescence and 5 flowers on second inflorescence) plus 2 emerging inflorescences.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 7.5 cm; NS V - 9.0 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 0.5 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 7.0 cm;

Petal W - 2.0 cm; Petals L - 7.1 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 0.7 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 7.5 cm;

Lip W - 3.5 cm; Lip L - 5.5 cm

Plant has 13 growths and growing in 7” pot.

All flowers in perfect conditions.

Judges' Comments

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Eleven interesting flowers on two inflorescences raises the question: Why?

A. M. Gentle hybridized from 1923 thru 1938: Only 6 Paphs., none awarded. His last/final hybrid, registered in 1950, was his eponymous Epc. A. M. Gentle, also not awarded.

Only two other Epc. registered with labiata as parent: eburneum (Epc. Balarucensis ,1905) and secundum (Epc. Valencia,1953). Neither recognized with AOS award.

Seems as though these crosses were made for academic interest. Perhaps, as is often the case, two plants sharing a breeding group were in simultaneous bloom and the hybridizer thought it was a good idea at the time.

This plant makes a nice presentation, has reasonably good color and floriferousness for its size and many people would like it. Question is: How many points does one allot for "like"? In which column do you place the "like" score? I suspect over the 70+- years since the last Epi. was crossed with labiata, folks saw there was no reason to pursue that line of breeding.

I am amazed that a grower actually found this plant and would be interested in knowing its growth history.

In sum: Plant/flower not better than parents. I would pass on award but commend the grower for his academic prowess and interest.

Thanks for allowing me to participate.

Kristen Mason (Accredited Judge, Cincinnati Judging Center)

There is so much to love about this elegant ephemeral looking flower. The color and grace is wonderful as is the texture of the flowers and the lip is so beautiful in its shape, markings and color. It has some very nice features from both its parents. Unfortunately, the rolling on the sepals is very problematic to me - especially when there are many awards to both parents that have flat sepals and I can find pictures online of this cross that are also more flat in the sepals. The sepals alone prevent me from considering a quality award. The flowers are smaller than awards for either parents and have less flowers per inflorescence than most of the awards for the parents. For this reason, I would not consider a cultural award. I would take this home without hesitation and absolutely enjoy its many wonderful assets, but would not award it at this time.

Trevor Yee (Accredited Judge, AOC, Australia)

We are presented with a beautiful novel primary hybrid and our conundrum is how do we assess it according to our current judging standards (my reference being AOC). Does it also represent the best features of both parents or was the hybridizer just in a 'Frankenstein' mood?

This clone has taken on more of ciliare's form with wider floral segments, and an infusion of pink from labiata. It's an improvement certainly, but is it sufficient to warrant a quality award as per our judging guidelines ?. The dorsal and sepals are reflexing to various degrees, while the lip is quite attractive. The cluster arrangement is also quite appealing, though some would say it's rather bunchy and haphazard.

In reality I believe it's highly unlikely this plant will garner an award - but for the purposes of this virtual judging exercise - it has prompted us to think if these new types of developmental hybrids can be awarded in the future.

Ginna Plude (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

At a monthly judging a plant was presented that had not been awarded in about 40 yrs. A comment was made by a veteran judge that has stuck with me ever since. "If the cross has not gotten an award in that long a period of time, then there is probably a good reason." At which point we discussed what the reasons might be. For the candidate plant I think this quote applies. While the 11 flowers as a group is pretty, the individual flowers are not an improvement, or even necessarily a promising blending of the two parents. Epi. ciliare is an interesting, 'funky', flower and very, very floriferous. C. labiata is a beautifully formed flower. The candidate definitely combines features of both but it is not, in my opinion, a positive result. It is a well grown plant but not one I would nominate.

Tom Mirenda (Accredited Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

My comments on this gorgeous hybrid:

I've always wondered about using Epidendrum ciliare in hybrids. It has so much potential for flower count, frilly lips and vigor yet we rarely see any....

And my suspicions are confirmed by this lovely hybrid.. I should think crossing it with any colorful Cattleya would yield similar results.

I can only imagine what it will do as a large specimen one day. It is likely to be awarded as a specimen.

I have long felt that the AOS standards for flower quality are still based on a 1950s standard of corsage beauty.

This is long overdue for change as the thing that most orchid growers cherish above all else is the diversity within the family.

and the standards of fullness and round ness, while certainly ONE accepted aesthetic, are simply inadequate to describe or praise the entirety

of the potentials within the orchidaceae. This flower, other than the glorious lip, could never be awarded with those 1950s standards.

and with our present score sheet, it would be far from ever reaching flower quality status.....a disservice!

This being said, it's a fantastic novelty that ANYONE would want to grow.

Great vigor, Great inflorescence, Excellent color, and a labellem that is indescribably beautiful

Such plants usually end up with a JC....because they don't fit the standard.

But I think it is time to move on and give things like this merit awards.....

This would necessitate a complete revamping of the score sheet....and there will be tremendous resistance to that

Every student on entering the judging program, myself included, has tried to revise/improve the hopelessly redundant score sheet.

And yet a new one never emerges.

I would say this flower deserves AT LEAST an HCC,,,,,but will never get its due under current AOS judging

Keith Davis (Keith Davis Orchids, NC)


I would start by suggesting that judges go to the previous awards to hybrids with ciliare that used larger flowered parents. Using Orchid Wiz helps to delve deep into the research much faster, then look at the award photos. All judges need to supplement the AOS program with Orchid Wiz to expand your research horizon. If not, you are going about it with a self-inflicted handicap. If you are truly interested in learning and in judging, you will do all you can to make research and learning as easy and assessable as possible.

X Toshie Aoki = Doctor Rafael Sobrino 2 AM awards with photos

X digbyana = Cabalgata en Verde one HCC and one AM

X Ranger Six = Siempre Tu One AD for the value of using ciliare in breeding, one AM

So, here you have a basis to compare your hybrid with previous awards with photos.

To be honest, this one you show is to me more beautiful than the above hybrids.

* It has great flower count, far superior to any of the above awards.

*The darker dorsal contrasts nicely with the delicate color of the lip and other segments.

*The lip veining is stunning with the lighter and darker contrasting "rivers".

* Lip fringe is quite pleasing.

*Lip is nicely proportional with the overall size of the flower.

* the lip's flatness greatly enhances and shows off all of it positives.

*Petals are improved over the ciliare parent.

*Flower inflorescence habit favors ciliare which is nice. Plant habit favors more towards the labiata with shorter and fatter bulbs and close internode growth which favors future bloomings with even more growths in flower, yet still in a smaller pot.

*overall, this has many of the best features of both parents combined to make a totally different orchid from the parents, yet just as beautiful and pleasing in its own way.

Comments to your points as to possibly why no previous awards:

*most likely it IS very rare in collections and seldom if ever seen by judges. Also, some things just never seem to time out for judging. How many C. dowiana have you ever judged?!

*mostly not looking good with so many blooms...this is always a problem with any specie or hybrid that has a high flower count. In this situation, it does appear to not have this problem which to me suggests that the blooms last a long time to allow all to be open at the same time. If one was to consider taking in such a plant to judging, it would always be wise to place the plant in a protected area while buds open.

*Judging standards can't allow such strange hybrids to be awarded: this myth is already debunked by the above examples that the AOS has granted awards to and there are actually hundreds of other similar examples if one wishes to do the research.

*No procedure on how to judge these types of plants: the procedure would be as normal...do research and find things to look at that are similar, discuss all the positive and negatives, and in this case, few negatives exist. Each hybrid has to be looked at on its own merit, not compared to some hybrid that has totally different merits.

* No point scale for beauty: True, but all the point scales together add up to one thing, beauty in the eyes of the judges. You are not adding up points to construct something based on a mathematical summary of its physical properties, but rather a guide to score the flowers for an overall rating of its beauty. Actually, I like to start at 100 points and work down. 100%. Innocent till proven guilty standards. As a judge, you have to understand what the expectations are or could be when a hybrid is made. You can't be prejudice just because you like full cabbage shaped catts and you are looking at something like this hybrid. An honorable judge knows how to set aside his/her prejudices and not let them affect their call on what is before them. It would not be difficult at all to look at any number of hybrids with labiata crossed with smaller things. Actually, there are 412 F1 hybrids to delve into.

Hope this helps a bit and creates more interest.


Keith Davis

Joseph Maciaszek (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Epicattleya A. M. Gentle

This plant defiantly puts on a great display of flowers the grower and anyone else luck enough to see the plant in person. Doing some research there seems to be over 50 hybrids using Epidendrum ciliare as a parent and only 8 of them have received an award of some time. Only a few of the primary hybrids are awarded (none them with Cattleya). These hybrids also are not used as parents in further breeding. One of the interesting primary hybrids is Rhynchodendrum Cabalgata en Verde where Rl. digbyana is use as a pod parent.

The candidate plant has a good flower count for the two parents but the size of the flowers seems to be a little smaller than the parents. The plant has a pleasing light pink through most of the segments.

In the lip of the candidate one can see the E. ciliare traits dominate, C. labiate has broaden the lobes of the lip and adding some color as well. This is one of the best features of the candidate although the presentation of the lip is not consistent on all of the flowers; in some cases the mid-lobe presents nice and flat while other it recurves backwards.

The sepals have a nice magenta color on the reverse side unfortunately the they rolled and the lateral recurve backwards distally. Recently awarded crossed with E. ciliare the sepals present flat unlike the candidate. I would not nominate this plant at this time.

Bob Winkley (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Epicattleya A. M. Gentle

Dear Sergey -

Thank you for presenting us with such a lovely, well flowered candidate. It's a pleasure to see and presents the judges with a real challenge.

I can imagine why there are no awards to this cross if it were exhibited shortly after it was registered. It does not adhere to the classic Cattleya form - too narrow sepals and petals that recurve, column completely exposed, and acuminate lip which pinches and twists at the apex. These latter two traits point towards the Epidendrum's dominance in this clone.

The color is perhaps one of the best features of this flower and clearly the Cattleya has put it's best foot forward.

Presentation wise, I think the arrangement is pretty good. A few flowers haven't oriented as well along the Epidendrum style inflorescence but all flowers are visible and appear to be well spaced.

The challenge here is that while this is a lovely flower it is really not better than a decent Cattleya maxima or Epidendrum ciliare. Where this plant might have potential in the future, given prolonged good culture, is being brought in as a specimen for cultural consideration. At this point, I would not nominate this plant and I would abstain from scoring if it were nominated.

Bob W.

Deb Bodei (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Epicattleya A. M. Gentle

Observations and Commentary

Assessing this plant for a flower award. The plant and its flower have a lovely elegance that is hard to ignore. I wonder if this is a very rare plant that has never crossed a judging table before?

Comparing it to the ciliare parent, it is an improvement for all segments. Comparing it to the labiata parent for improvement, would not be fair. Its just different.

The lip is fantastic, the color delicate and complimentary to the graceful form of the flowers. The petals and sepals will not score high but I believe the plant can be pointed and recognized for what it is. We have had other similar situations like in the case of Epicattleya Rene Marques with intermedia and loddigisii in the Cattleya parent. Rene Marques received its first flower award in 1981 as an AM.


I would nominate this plant for a flower award with the expectation it would receive a high HCC.



Cesar Uchima (Student Judge, Dallas Judging Center)

Epicattleya A. M. Gentle

Using Cattleya labiata had set the bar high in breeding. Cattleya labiata is an extremely variable Cattleya species. The lavender-flowered group dominates for flower color, lip color pattern, flower shape, size and substance (hereditary influences of the Cattleya alliance (AOS). Additional flowers well-arranged on strong upright stems.

Epi. ciliare is very dominant for flower shape, size, and growth habit. In some hybrids, the sepals and petals are prone to reflexing along the midribs (hereditary influences of the Cattleya alliance (AOS). In order to improved the reflexing of the segments, crossed had been done with well known hybrids please check the following Epidendrum ciliare´s awards:

  • Epc. Taína 1990

  • Rnd. Doctor Rafael Sobrino 1999

  • Rnd. Siempre Tú 2008

  • Vnra. Walnut Valley Star 2004

In my humble opinion, perhaps crossing a good selected Epidendrum ciliare or if available choosing Epidendrum ciliare 'Vivian', AM - FCC/AOS with a Cattleya labiata hybrid, may bring some nice characteristics of both.

There is still more work to do with the lovely Epicattleya A. M. Gentle.

Carrie Buchman (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Epicattleya A. M. Gentle (Cattleya labiata x Epidendrum ciliare).

The lip on this plant is very appealing, as is the contrasting light/dark color on the two sides of the sepals. Unfortunately, the candidate has some significant issues with rolled and twisted sepals, and the turned petals. The flower size is less the geometric mean of the parents, though floriferousness is ok. I do not see this as an improvement in the parents. I would pass on this flower. It would be interesting to know what the hybridizer hoped to achieve with this cross. Also, interesting to note that it has not be used in further hybridizing.

Sergey Skoropad (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Epicattleya A. M. Gentle (Cattleya labiata x Epidendrum ciliare).

Very interesting flowers 😉

Not what we can see every year at judging tables.

The question – why?!

Rare in cultivation? Difficult to grow? Not easy to get all flowers in perfect conditions at judging time?...

Could these flowers fit judging standards?

Can be this plant guilty because cross didn’t receive awards in 70 years?

I would like to look at this plant from different angle.

If I will use standard system and try to compare parents to see improvement, I probably will prefer to see flat and some kind of round flowers. But flowers of Epicattleya A. M. Gentle are not flat and round, they far away from cattleya flowers what we would like to see.

But, I believe, not all of the beautiful (and awarded) flowers should be flat and round? What about flowers of dendrobium spectabile and their hybrids - far away from flat and round standards, but still awardable!

I think presentation of the flowers is amazing, lip is fantastic and all flowers in perfect conditions.

I think this plant/flowers should be recognized!

I’m not sure if I can nominate for flower award but definitely I will nominate for JC!!!



Martin Motes (Accredited Judge, Florida-Caribbean Judging Center)

Epicattleya A. M. Gentle

Before the genetics of night pollinated orchids like Epi. ciliare was known to be caused by genes that suppress color, many attempts to cross natural white species to alba forms of cattleyas were made in the 1950’s and early 60’s. Epicat. A.M. Gentle was likely such a hybrid. Like similarly motivated hybrids with Caularthron, Brassavola and Rhyncholaelia the results disappointed: not white but very pale lavender. This disappointment may explain the long neglect of Epicat. A. M. Gentle. Not only was the color wrong but a judging culture in which the benchmark for shape in Laeliniae was the near perfect form of C. Bow Bells found hybrids like Epicat. A.M. Gentle severely wanting. In the present judging climate, obviously attractive hybrids like Epicatt. A. M. Gentle warrant more attention. The dramatic display presented in the arching inflorescence which boldly thrusts the large flat lips forward is charming. The color while not vibrant is pleasant. Even allowing for its Epi. ciliare parentage, the rolled sepals are disappointing, and render the flowers unscoreable. Beautiful and an interesting line of breeding, I would nominate it for a J.C.

This line of breeding producing vigorous plants with showy displays of blooms are valuable additions to tropical and subtropical gardens. Epicatt. A. M. Gentle is inspiring me to consider creating hybrids from Epi. ciliare for the National Orchid Garden at Fairchild. My Epi. ciliare is just opening.

As a side note, it is known as the Christmas orchid in St. Thomas where it is native, one of few tropical new world species with common names in English.

Deb Boersma (Student Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

Epicattleya A M Gentle

This is a stunning flower with great colour and a beautiful large frilly lip. It has obviously inherited the large lip from the labiata parent and the long and narrow sepals and petals from the ciliare parent. The flower forms of both parents are very different from one another and I think that this hybrid has combined aspects of both parents to form a spectacular flower. The form is not the ideal round, flat full form that is the ideal but that is expected being that the ciliare is in the background. The dorsal sepal is upright, petals perhaps a little floppy but I think what really makes this flower jump out at you is the lip, its’ size, frilled edge, colour and pattern. I think the flower has great form.

The over colour is appealing, the sepals slightly darker adds some nice contrast and the colour and markings on the lip really set off the flower. The dark center line at the bottom of the lip, the yellow centrally and the lighter striations on the lip all contribute to the beauty of the lip. The colour of the flower is not as intense as the labiate parent but is still a very nice colour overall.

As far as the flower size, it is really difficult to compare to parents of such different form, flowers are smaller than the labiate parent with much smaller width to the petals and sepals but on the other hand it compares in size to the ciliare parent and has wider petals and much larger lip. It is not nearly as floriferous as the ciliare parent but on par with the awarded labiate parent. I wonder if it could have been staked to give a slightly better presentation of the flowers.

Overall I think this is a beautiful flower and considering that it has not had any awards I would nominate it for a flower quality award. I would score it at a high HCC 78 points

Exhibitor - Longwood Gardens, PA (orchid grower - Greg Griffis)