Bulbophyllum graveolens

Week 4: Apr 12, 2020

Bulbophyllum graveolens

I would like to present new plant for the Virtual Judging exercise (week 4) - bulbophyllum graveolens ‘Mount Millais’ AM/AOS.


Bulbophyllum graveolens was found in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea. This orchid grows in the rain forests on the branches of trees of the lower and middle tiers at an altitude of 100-600 m. Bulbophyllum graveolens, also called The Very Fragrant Bulbophyllum, was described by J.J. Smith in 1912. It is a very large, single leafed epiphyte with numerous long white roots on a creeping rhizome, the leaves could be 50-65 cm long and 9-10 cm wide and plant could be very floriferous (up to 20 flowers per inflorescence).

There are 24 AOS awards in OrchidPro. Recent awards - clone ‘Valley Isle’ AM 83 pts, 05/04/2016 (67 flowers and 1 bud on 3 infl., flower size 2.0 x 8.4 cm, H x V); clone ‘Red Hawk’ AM/CCM 83/82 04/02/2016 (118 flowers on 10 infl., flower size 2.0 x 6.2 cm).

Please also check same clone ‘Mount Millias’ awarded AM 84 in 05/03/2002 in Hawaii (28 flowers on 2 infl., flower size 1.9 x 5.7 cm).

Candidate has 22 flowers on 2 infl., flower size 2.0 x 8.4 cm) with red spotting covering the anterior of the petals and sepals (I found this spotting is very unusual!).

This plant is growing in an six inch plastic net pot (spilling over a bit) with two umbels, consisting of 22 blooms on two inflorescences. They are arranged pleasingly with every bloom showing. As far as culture goes, this species seems to take more light than other Bulbos. It is a reliable bloomer with a stinky-poo (carrion) fragrance. I grow it near my strappy Paphs. and Phrags. so the leaves are a nice light green, blooming reliably in mid-spring.

The flowers on this plant have consistent and rather attractive red spotting covering the anterior of the petals and sepals. This is very different from all other awarded plants which are chartreuse and striped slightly darker chartreuse longitudinally on sepals and petals. Strangely enough, it is also different from the photo and description of the plant awarded in 2008 that is labelled Bulb. graveolens 'Mount Millais' AM/AOS. It has bloomed this way consistently for the past three years since it was purchased it at the Lois Duffin greenhouse estate sale.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 2.0 cm; NS V - 8.4 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 1.5 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 3.2 cm;

Petal W - 0.5 cm; Petals L - 0.8 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 1.3 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 6.1 cm;

Lip W - 0.6 cm; Lip L - 1.2 cm

Judges' Comments

Al Messina

This plant is very well grown and nicely bloomed. Flowers appear to be in pristine condition. Prior AOS awards do not have significant spotting which adds an interesting attractiveness. The prior award to this clone (or at least what is thought to be this clone) was awarded an AM 84 points 2008 in Central Pennsylvania. A casual perusal of the plant suggests an immediate CCE with 345 flowers on 19 inflorescences. But there were a number of leaves which were cut back likely due to leaf tip necrosis (Must be high dissolved solids in Central Penn water??). This clone is very common in awarded plants from Australia and I suspect that the candidate plant is not, indeed, the same purported "Mount Millais". Assuming, however, that it is: There is no recognition in the AOS awards record of this color form. While a Judges Commendation could be given, in my opinion the correct award is a CHM in recognition of a heretofore unrecognized colorform to this species. Low flower count precludes a flower award. There is a "Mount Millais" AM 84 points 2002 to Wilbur Chang, a noted Hawaiian grower, which by photo seems to have a reddish blush. Difficult to compete with the Hawaiians with 12 hours of sunlight year round. That's not too far from the approximate latitude of PNG.

Look at graveolens in Orchid Wiz: Many of the (unawarded) Australian plants have it. Deb’s plant is not the purported clone (Mt Millais) but one of the Australian types. Someone at Lois Duffin probably assumed it was the same and placed a label in it for the sale post mortum (Lois Duffin). But should get CHM on next bloom.

Albert V. Messina M.D

Ed Weber

A very interesting plant indeed.

Back in the day, Parkside had a large specimen of this species. I remember once during one of their events I was working in the greenhouse where it lived and I asked John what I had done to deserve being banished to the stink-house!

I also find the speckling very unusual so I did a Google search and found the flower below which can be viewed at the link shown.


Another clone with speckling can be viewed here:


and another here:


By all means please loop Bill Thoms into the discussion.

I knew Lois. As did most of the judges. She was an excellent record keeper, so if she had it labelled as Mt. Millais, then I accept that identification.

I am wondering if culture could be responsible for the change in the flower habit. I'll be very interested to see how Bill responds.

Mr. Ed

Sergey Skoropad

Hello everyone

I collected additional information: asked exhibitor to send me original label and contacted Bill Thoms and Laura Newton.

Label from exhibitor shows name ‘Mount Millais’ AM/RHS (not AOS).

My question was:

If the flowers from original plant can mutate and produce red spotting or this is new plant (label is wrong)?

Please check what Laura sent me:

‘I have just spoken with Bill Thoms and graveolens would not change it’s color, so it must not be Mount Millais.

I do see an Australian award in OPro that is spotted, so I would personally treat this an unawarded cultivar.’

About RHS cultivar:

‘Here is the painting of the RHS award from their award program, so no it did not have spots either!’

I believe that we are looking for new plant, not division of ‘Mount Millais’!



Laura Newton

I have just spoken with Bill Thoms and graveolens would not change it’s color, so it must not be Mount Millais.

I do see an Australian award in OPro that is spotted, so I would personally treat this an unawarded cultivar.

Here is the painting of the RHS award from their award program, so no it did not have spots either!

Laura Newton

AOS Award Registrar


Al Messina

So now we need to establish a new baseline for this clone; viz, size, flower count color form, etc, via a formal CHM with full description.

Good Work, Sergey!!!

Al Messina

Omar Bound

I concur Sergey: This is not "Mt Millais". Good catch.

Would I award it? Don't know. The issue becomes that the "Mt Millais" clone is sort of the gold standard here for a quality award.

I suppose a CHM might apply as a "spotless variety", or even a JC. Either would put it on record.

I would look at all the award photos (sounds like you have) and anything else available looking for unspotted clones.

Any chance that it isn't even graveolens ?

Mark Werther

Sergey: I do not think I have seen this plant often. Based on what I saw in Orchid Pro and Wiz it is not close to a CCM. There is one clear example of a red dotted form from the Australian Orchid Society - variety 'Keiths'. Sergey indicates there is one other, but not very clear on the spotting.

I find this presentation excellent, the flower vertical size at 8.4cm as exceptional and the red dotting expanding the contrast and inherent beauty of the flower. The fact that it is not 'Mt. Millais' just means that it is an independent species plant and I would nominate for flower award. 83 - 86 points. MNW

Cathy Higgins

My response:

This is a very pretty flower. Given Sergey's very helpful research, suggesting that this is an unawarded cultivar, I would suggest that it be considered for a flower award. An alternative consideration would be a CHM. The leaves look remarkably clean and the flowers are very nicely presented, but the low flower count would make me reluctant to nominate it for a cultural award. The plant is obviously in the hands of expert growers and thus could potentially produce a larger flower count in the future.

Cathy Higgins

John Sullivan

This is one of those plants where presentation is everything! With 2 inflorescences having 11 flowers per inflorescence, I don't think this compares with previous cultural awards. Flower size is good. It appears to be a young plant. Having said the above, back to presentation. I have craned my neck several times trying to see the presentation better. I can't tell how these 2 inflorescences have arranged themselves, or have been arranged. However, the flowers look like they appear radially in several tiers. I find this very attractive and somewhat reminiscent of Eucomis (Pineapple Lily). Individually the flowers are typically Bulbophyllum shaped but in this arrangement they are stunning. The spotting on the dorsal (thank you Sergey for supplying additional info) does seem to be absent from the other awarded clones. Given that this appears from Laura to be a different clone, I think a CHM as a distinct form of the species might be in order, but I would need to see the plant in person to be certain. I think if it continues to be well grown, it could eventually qualify for a cultural award.


Elena Skoropad

Bulbophyllum graveolens

This clone has no awards yet.

The plant has beautiful presentation and very usual spotting on flowers which contributes to its unique look.

I saw only one picture on internet where plant has similar spots (on orchids of New Guinea website)

Flowers are larger than usual. The plant is beautifully gown and could be nominated for flower award (mid AM). I would also consider nominating this plant for CHM taking into consideration unique spotting on flowers. The only problem with that plant - the smell. Unfortunately majority of bulbos, is has not a pleasant smell. This one is a really stinky one 😃 but gorgeous!



Sergey Skoropad

This is very interesting plant. Beautifully presented flowers and unusual red spotting! Surprisingly, I could not find in OrchidPro (AOS awards) any similar flowers with spotting, mostly plain or veined! But they exist in Australian award database (thanks to Laura to mention AOC awards).

Base on this I think flowers should be recognized and nominated for CHM.

Another point: flowers are very big and very nice presented. I believe that when we see this plant in person it will be nominated for flower award. I’m on mid AM (85-86 pts). I’m not worry about minimal flower count per inflorescence, size of the flowers can balance this.

It’s not unusual when well grow plant with unique flowers can get CHM and flower award!


Exhibitor - Bill and Deb Bodei, NJ (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)