Paphiopedilum fairrieanum

Week 43 Plant 1: Jan 25, 2021

Paphiopedilum fairrieanum


This week I would like to present three paphiopedilum species and first is Paphiopedilum fairrieanum (‘Dark Dark’ x ‘Big ‘N Flat’).

John Lindley named the species from a plant flowered by a Mr. Fairrie (or Fairie) of Liverpool in 1857. It is indigenous to northeast India. Paphiopedilum fairrieanum (Lindl.) Stein (1892) is accepted species by WCSP (Kew).

Previous Awards:

This species has been awarded 149 times and 134 of those are AOS awards. Only 13 of those are culture awards and the rest flower awards with only four of those FCCs.


Our candidate plant has one mature growth and this is the first flowering for this plant. This candidate was crossed with two named parents (‘Dark Dark’ x ‘Big ‘N Flat’) neither of which have been awarded.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 6.8 cm; NS V - 6.4 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 3.3 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 3.4 cm;

Petal W - 1.1 cm; Petals L - 4.0 cm;

Lat/Synsepal W - 2.1 cm; Lat/Synsepal L - 3.0 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 2.0 cm; Lip/Pouch L - 2.9 cm.

Judges' Comments

Kristen Mason (Accredited Judge, Cincinnati Judging Center)

Paph. fairrieanum - I love the vibrancy of the green and the dark contrast of the hairs in the center of the flower. The prominence and density of the hairs on the edge of the dorsal and the evenness and style of the waviness. Overall color is nice. Dorsal reflexes significantly at the tip. Staminode is off center so flower looks asymmetrical. Size is average, segments are narrow, petals are asymmetrical in carriage. I would pass on this flowering.

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Paphiopedilum fairrieanum :

One quite nice first bloom flower on one staked erect inflorescence; a major component of this species, the dorsal sepal, is smaller than

median; slight petal asymmetry likely will be corrected/improved on subsequent blooming; color intensity slightly suboptimal and might improve on subsequent blooming.

Not yet awardable, in my opinion, but look forward to future bloom cycles. Good potential.

Ginna Plude (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Paph fairrieanum

The candidate is pretty typical of the species. The one detail that stands out to me however is that the pouch looks much lighter in color than what is typical. Unfortunately I think that is a negative as it doesn't compliment the petals or dorsal sepal. I would not nominate.

Bill Goldner (Accredited Judge, National Capital Judging Center)

The fairrieanum is fair. Markings not strong, form typical, size looks small.

Deb Boersma (Student Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

Paphiopedilum fairrieanum

This is a beautiful flower with nice colours, the yellow green suffused on the superior half of the petals highlights the petals nicely. The dorsal has very dark purple veining, over all it is a pleasant looking flower, however I don’t think that the colour or the form of this candidate is superior to the many AOS awarded plants. The pouch appears be slightly askew to the left and the flower is smaller than many other awarded plants. Since there are so many awards and the bench mark here for awarding is high, I would pass on this plant, I would not nominate it for a quality award.

Dave Sorokowsky (Accredited Judge, California Sierra Nevada Judging Center)

Paph fairrieanum.

Color is very weak. Form is below average. Dorsal sepal rolls back too much and there is asymmetry in the petals. A below average pot plant in my opinion.

Sergey Skoropad (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Paph fairrieanum.

Nice flower, young plant.

For the species awarded by AOS 134 times judging criteria becomes very high.

I found that color is a little pale compared to the other awarded plants, size a little smaller and asymmetrical petals can’t give me a chance to nominate this flower.

This’s a first bloom from single growth and I believe when plant will mature with multiple growth flowers can reach award quality.


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

Grower's Advice

Paph. fairrieanum

This species to us is very much like the exotically beautiful country it is native to - India. Whether an awardable plant or not, a bloom from this species never ceases to amaze us and bring us back to the wonder of orchids and the reasons we grow a large variety of them. We grow in a greenhouse and outside in summer. This species needs a lot of water and does not like to be divided. It is also a cooler grower and the bloom will be darker with cooler temperatures. Some years can remain too warm for too long, and this species may blast or just not bloom for us. This past summer was cool enough that a few emerged to our delight!

Deb and Bill