Cattleya (Melody Fair x Circle of Life)

Week 35: Nov 23, 2020


(C. Melody Fair x C. Circle of Life)

Week 35 (C. Melody Fair x C. Circle of Life)

This week I would like to present Cattleya (Melody Fair x Circle of Life) '1209H'

This is unregistered cross.

Cattleya (sun. Rhyncholaeliocattleya) Melody Fair was registered by T. Lino in 1988 - (C. Stephen Oliver Fouraker x C. Horace). This cross received 2 AOS awards.

Second parent - Cattleya (syn. Sophrolaeliocattleya) was registered by Fordyce in 1998 - (C. Culminant x C. coccinea). There are 18 AOS awards on this cross.

Basically, this’s cross between large flower cattleya species like trianae, warscewiczii... and small red cattleya coccinea!

Please read information from exhibitor:

‘3 flowers and 3 buds on 2 inflorescences;

plant 22 cm above pot;

stem length 7 cm to bottom ovary attachment;

growing in 12 cm pot.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 10.8 cm; NS V - 10.9 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 3.0 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 6.2 cm;

Petal W - 6.1 cm; Petals L - 6.0 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 2.8 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 6.3 cm;

Lip W - 4.1 cm; Lip L - 6.4 cm

Judges' Comments

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Three nicely colored, quite crowded flowers and three buds on two unstaked inflorescences. Crowding might be genetic, as seen in CCE of Melody Fair (No apparent flower award granted with CCE). Unappealing dysuniformity of flower parts is disqualifying for award. However, with further growth and careful staking, a flower award can not be excluded. Certainly a future cultural award is possible. There is potential in this for the grower.

Thanks for allowing me to participate.

Kristen Mason (Accredited Judge, Cincinnati Judging Center)

Beautiful even color with slight splash on petals. I love the intensity of the lip, contrast with throat and column and the slight picotee.

Some form issues, but not unexpected and pointable

Some crowding on the inflorescence, similar to the Melody Fair parent

Slightly more flowers per inflorescence when compared to parents

Size favored the smaller parent, but not unexpected given the species involved.

Both parents contributed some nice things to this plant.

I decided to point this. I ended up at 74 points, so possibly a low HCC.

Carrie Buchman (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Cattleya Melody Fair x Cattleya Circle of Life

This flower has great potential and I would gladly add it to my collection. The lip is stunning; the narrow picotee at the ruffled margin offsets the lush deep color, and the side lobes fully enclose the column. Even the reverse side of the lip is beautiful. The color of the lip is in nice contract with the lighter color of the sepals and petals. The natural spread and floriferousness seems to be about what one would expect from this cross – right in the middle. The petals are broad and round, but the margins are wrinkled and the apices reflexed. Unfortunately, the flowers are quite crowded and sit quite close to the foliage. It is likely that this crowding has contributed to the petal issues. I suspect that some additional watering as the inflorescence is growing would encourage it to lengthen and provide more room for the flowers and a better overall display I would not nominate this plant in this flowering, but would love to see this again on the judging table when the flowers are showing their full potential

Kind Regards,

Carrie Buchman

Deb Bodei (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Cattleya (Melody Fair x Circle of Life)

Observations and Commentary

Assessing this plant for a flower award. What a great compact hybrid with a beautiful flower! I would certainly love to grow one.

The form is full and round. Two of the three blooms have dimpled dorsals that are causing them to recurve though. The flower that has the upright dorsal is half hidden behind the adjacent flower and does not have a good angle for photographing, which is a shame. None of the three blooms are free of partial obstruction by the other blooms and are significantly crowding each other out.

The form and substance is very good and influenced by Circle of Life. The amazing color and lip is influenced by Melody Fair. The size and proportion of the segments are also very good. It is a shame that this plant was not groomed and staked to present the inflorescences at their best. The second group of buds almost look like they are crippled underneath because of the crowding by the first inflorescence already in bloom. With early staking and better positioning of the inflorescences this could have been a very different presentation. The plant itself is in need of some general grooming as well.


Because of the crowded presentation of the flowers, I would have to pass on nomination on this flowering. With some staking and grooming beforehand, I would sincerely like to see this plant back on the judging table next year and look forward to the opportunity to nominate it then. It has great potential.

Thank you for including my comments.


Deb Boersma (Student Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

Cattleya (Melody Fair x Circle of Life)

I absolutely love this flower, the soft pink colour of the petals and sepals and the dark contrasting lip makes this flower jump out at you. I would like to have this one in my collection!

The flower form is full and round, symmetrical and well proportioned. The petals are very wide and the lip has good form. The dorsal sepal is somewhat buckled on two of the flowers and the ends of the petals are slightly recurved.

The overall colour combination is stunning. The soft pink petals with the contrasting dark red lip is beautiful and the yellow interior of the lip with red striations adds to the beauty.

The flower size is smaller than the Melody Fair parent but a little larger than the Circle of Life parent. Excluding the HCC of Melody Fair with 36 flowers, it is on par in regards to floriferousness when compared to both parents. I think the flowers are a bit bunched together and might have been better arranged with staking. It’s difficult to comment on the substance and texture without seeing it in person and this accounts for 20 points on the Cattleya scale.

I would nominate it for a quality awarded because of the stunning colour but would score it score it as an HCC 76-77 because of the form flaws and assuming good texture and substance.

Tom Mirenda (Accredited Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

An adorable, colorful mini Cattleya that anyone would enjoy growing and blooming. Nice full rounded pink-lavender flower with contrasting ruby lip is very attractive. I am pleasantly surprised by the strength of the unstaked inflorescence. Usually coccinea crosses have weak scapes that would be unable to support three large heavy blossoms. Indeed the larger catt has overtaken the propensity of coccinea to have generally only one flower per inflorescence. Like the Culminant parent, flowers are well presented if a bit crowded, but one must expect a bit of crowding on a miniature plant with large flowers and good flower count. Staking would be necessary to slightly redirect the second inflorescence as it opens or presentation will suffer. Plant is wonky and somewhat unruly which is characteristic of this type of breeding and might be alleviated by cultural practices. Even so, the flower is round, full, symmetrical, well-formed and attractive. In my view, worthy of a flower quality award. I would like to see other examples from this grex before deciding on whether it rates an AM or an HCC. Still a terrific hybrid and thanks for presenting it!

Alan Koch (Accredited Judge, California Sierra Nevada Judging Center)

I made the cross in question and used the Circle of Life that I have attached. On a summer bloom I get 2 flowers per inflorescence with a 10.5 NS and 6 CM wide petals. On a winter and spring flowering the flowers are even larger. The Melody Fair parent has 4 to 5 18 CM flowers per inflorescence. I have flowered out over 200 plants of this cross and shared seed pods with both H&R and Exotic Orchids of Maui. The cross is very consistent with full round flat flowers that average 12 to 13 CM NS. Substance is improved over the Circle of Life parent and is firm. Color has been from soft pink to dark garnet with over half having a deeper colored flare at the tips of the petals. The one thing consistent in CoL breeding is extremely flat progeny and great shape. I have made over 20 CoL hybrids and always try to put the pollen on a plant with a good stem like the Melody Fair parent as to overcome the major weakness of CoL and that is the absence of a stem. Having said all that if we were actually judging the plant I would recuse myself, but here I will say I would pass on it on this flowering as the petals don't hold themselves straight. I believe on another flowering the petals will hold themselves straight and this plant will be awardable. I hold CoL progeny to a high standard because it is such a powerful parent similar to the way that Paph. Macabre is such a strong parent.


Joseph Maciaszek (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Cattleya (Melody Fair x Circle of Life)

The candidate plant is an interesting cross of two different breeding lines and is a lovely flower. Circle of Life has crossed with 88 plants; some plants had Melody Fair in the background like C. Magic Melody (for C. Life Melody) and Rth. Izumi Charm (for Rth. Life's Charm).

I find the flower count to be interesting for the candidate having 3 flowers per inflorescence, similar to the Melody Fair. Circle of Life tends to be 2 or 1 flowers per inflorescence; one might expect it to decrease the flower count. The candidate plant vertical height is much smaller than the Melody Fair but has nicely sized flowers; the segments are well proportioned as well. Circle of Life has added some very attractive colors to all of the segments of the candidate plant. While Melody Fair has increased the size and color of the lip of Circle of Life, increasing the appeal of this flower.

The inflorescence is somewhat crowded, and some of the flowers are not presenting that well. While there are some issues with the presentation of the flowers, I would nominate this plant for a flower quality award. I think the candidate would get a high HCC award.

Cesar Uchima (Student Judge, Dallas Judging Center)

Cattleya Melody Fair got an impressive wide lip, sometimes flowers are crowded slightly overlapping, but looking at some Cattleya Melody Fair awarded in Brazil, it seems to show a better flower presentation.

I think dorsal sepal is an issue in this cross, both parents, showed upright dorsal sepal.

I am looking forward to see this nice cross at the shows to appreciate colors too.

Thank you,

Best Regards,


Elena Skoropad (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Very interesting unregistered cross!

First impression - very pleasant compact Cattleya plant; nice contract between deep red lip and pink petals; flower is flat, well proportioned, wide petals. I see only one small issue with presentation - flowers are overlapping each other, the flower cluster looks a bit crowded.

The parent C. Circle of Life is one of most important hybrids in orchid breeding. It has 50% of cocciniea and has been successfully used in hybridization for many years and produced numerous awarded crosses. Circle of Life itself has 18 awards, it is nice red compact plant. The other parent is standard large cattleya hybrid, very beautiful, has 2 awards, latest award CCE 90 points was given in 2020. These 2 parents produced nice compact hybrid which probably needs to be recognized. I would nominate it for flower quality award and will be in mid to high HCC range. If flowers would be spaced out and not overlap each other the plant could get an AM

I would love to see what this plant can do on next blooming. Kudos to the grower!



Exhibitor - Ken Jacobsen, CA (Accredited Judge, Pacific Central Judging Center)