Dendrobium Haleahi Blush

Week 104: March 4, 2024

Dendrobium Haleahi Blush

(Den. Waianae Blush

Den. Diane Shimazu)

Haleahi Blush.mp4

New candidate for this month is a Dendrobium Haleahi Blush (Dendrobium Waianae Blush x Dendrobium Diane Shimazu). 

Dendrobium Haleahi Blush was originated and registered by Hawaiian FI. Nurs. in 2001. Although this cross has many Dendrobium species in the background, major species are Den. bigibbum var. superbum 72.61%, Den. gouldii 10.93% and Den. stratiotes 6.06%.

Previous Awards:

There are no AOS awards for this cross.

There are two AOS award for Dendrobium Waianae Blush: JC/AOS from 1995 and HCC/AOS from 1994.

There are no AOS awards for Dendrobium Diane Shimazu.


The candidate has 21 flowers and 10 buds on 3 unstacked inflorescences. Inflorescence length is 49 cm. 

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 7.8 cm;                   NS V - 7.0 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 1.8 cm;    Dorsal Sep. L - 4.1 cm;

Petal W - 3.5 cm;               Petals L - 4.3 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 2.0 cm;       Lat/Sepal L - 4.8 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 2.0 cm;     Lip/Pouch L - 4.9 cm.

Judges' Comments

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Thirty-one flowers and buds on three inflorescences. Plant is predominantly Den. phalaenopsis genetically.

Standard is higher than this candidate displays on this bloom: small flowers, low flower count, non-vibrant color, and several inconsistent petal irregularities. Not award quality on this bloom. Plant needs some growth, and when of good size, perhaps a marginal award might be forthcoming, if not flower quality, perhaps cultural.

Mary C. Mancini (Accredited Judge, Louisiana Judging Center)

I would score this with 76 points for HCC.  The flowers are lovely, flower count is good and form is very good.

Mary Mancini

Emily Quinn (Accredited Judge, Dallas Judging Center)

I love the color of this dendrobium (used it in my wedding). The plant compares equitably with previous award of HCC. Form is fine. Color is lovely. I would look at an HCC for this cross.

Cheryl Erins (Accredited Judge, Chicago Judging Center)

After researching a bit on this plant, the flowers are good size, but the color is so attractive.  The form is nice and appropriate for the parents.  I would score this a 79.  I think it is rather sparsely flowered and that to me is the reason I did not give an AM.  The form and color is enjoyable and right what I would expect.

Cheryl Erins

Roy Tokunaga (Emeritus Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

Den. Haleahi Blush is usually judged using the criteria for the genus Phalaenopsis.  Well rounded flowers on spikes that are pendant or cascading.  Waianae Blush developed by Miyamoto Orchids is a very unusual color form of Den. phalaenopsis.  The pink lip is a recessive color that appears once in a lifetime.  Miyamoto also made the Den. Diane Shimazu.  Both Ekapol and Queen Southeast Beauty have lots of magenta color. Most of the hybrids were dark pink or magenta.  We found one unusual color variant in at the Otani Show in Los Angeles, in the 1980s.  We bought an entire table top display to get that one individual.  We brought it back to Hawaii to clone.  Ekapol and Queen Southeast Beauty are counted tetraploids.   Being 4N, Den. Diane Shimazu had a vertical spike that had too much strength to bend over.  Vertical spikes were good for pot plant sales but had a problem being judged because of the Phalaenopsis criteria.  Den. Waianae Blush is 2n and helps solve that problem in Haleahi Blush.

Found a 2018 photo of Den. Waianae Blush 'Miya'.  It is a specimen plant that was about 35 years old.  It is difficult to keep a Dendrobium Phalaenopsis type plant healthy for any period of time.  I personally cared for the plant and showed it in a Honolulu Orchid Society fall show.  5 years in a row.  This plant is a 4n plant that appeared after cloning in the 1980s..  Tetraploids have less flowers per spike.  Rounder flowers and excellent substance.  See below.


Den. Waianae Blush 'Miya' 

Paul Wetter (Senior Judge, West Palm Beach Judging Center)

Thanks for arranging virtual judging on this very nice Dendrobium Haleahi Blush.

This is a very nice hybrid plant and shows the strong lineage of Dendrobium bigibbum (Den. Phalaenopsis).  I like the color here which shows the blush (as in the name) but wish that the form presented with more fullness that can be seen in many bigibbum var. superbum and offspring with previous awards. 

I'm on the fence about nominating and would probably pass, however if nominated I would speculate that it might receive a mid HCC based on color.

Best Regards

Paul Wetter

David Edgley (Accredited Judge, Western Canada Judging Center)

Here are my thoughts on Den. Haleahi Blush:

Very attractive bigibbum-type flowers with attractive light pink blush on all segments.  Flowers are as well-formed, perhaps better than either parent.  Given the type, this plant seems a bit under-flowered and arrangement could be better.  I could score it a low HCC.

David Edgley

Joe Bryson (Accredited Judge, Florida North-Central Judging Center)

I like this flower. It has a pleasing blush, good overall color and form. It appears better than the awarded HCC of Den. Waianae Blush particularly in color. The flowers when fully mature are fairly flat; the large mentum gives the appearance of some cupping and the immature flowers at the top have not yet flattened out like the lower blooms. The Dorsal Sepals do reflex slightly, but not objectionably so. The presentation could be a little better, but it is well flowered and not crowded. With better form and color than the 78 point Den. Waianae Blush, I would score this in the 84-86 range.


Steve Gonzalez (Accredited Judge, Chicago Judging Center)

Dendrobium Haleahi Blush (Den. Waianae Blush x Den. Diane Shimazu)

This is a very interesting colored hybrid in a world where most hybrids are rose-purple to dark rose-red and mostly white alba hues.  Strictly looking at production it is comparable in number of flowers and buds per inflorescence as the Waianae Blush parent although when you look further into 77-80% of the make-up of the Diane Shimazu parent which is Den. biggibum var. superbum and there is only one award to that species and it has lower flower count.  Oh, I found all the awards under Den. phalaenopsis in OrchidPro.  The size of segments is only slightly larger than any of its ancestors (5-10%) so the size improvement is only incremental, but when you compare to its ancestry it is fuller, like the awarded biggibum and has less windowing and a fuller petal than the Waianae Blush recorded JC & HCC flowers. The sepals and petals a slightly longer, sepals a bit pointy.  The flower is fairly flat and has this unusual ‘carnea’ blush coloring which I think is so delicate.  In the end many awards are so dated and this plant seems to be mature and well grown, I nominated it and scored it at a HCC of 77 points.

Christian Carrillo (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

While the candidate is nothing more than a commercial style pot plant, I find this example to be a very balanced and nicely formed flower.  The flower has wonderful symmetry and form.  The petals and dorsal sepal are excellent in their presentation and overall alignment to the rest of the flower parts. Staking would have helped the overall presentation, but I don't find the lack of staking to be a major flaw since the flowers still present well.  There seems to be a decent arrangement on the inflorescence too.  What sticks out to me about this flower is its color.  I am a little color seduced by the overlay of peach – this is not a color I see very often in this breeding (and the parents are old breeding too).  I find the color so attractive and harmonious in its presentation; its soft, uniform and very attractive.  I have no problem awarding this flower a 75-78 HCC.  

Tom Mirenda (Accredited Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

It has been at least 2 (Maybe 3) decades that this peachy color form has been present in the cut flower industry here in Hawaii.

At the time of its development it was considered something of a holy grail to have a new color form like this enter the trade.

Based on the reliance of the industry on breeders for fresh and novelty versions of these tried and true classics, I haven’t really seen anything better than these in recent times. I don’t know why breeding doesn’t seem to have progressed in all this time, but will ask colleagues at the UH about it. Those folks probably helped develop it as cut flower production was their focus and goal until pretty recently. It might be a dead end.

In any case, it is a lovely color form worthy of recognition. I suppose the JC is adequate for that purpose. By modern standards, the flowers are not particularly large, well formed or showy. I think their spacing on the inflorescence is not particularly attractive. Since it was bred for cut flower and leis, the overall look of the plant wasn’t particularly important to those breeders. My feeling is that it was probably heralded at the time of its first blooming, but was passed over for awards because judges were looking for some basic improvements that never seem to have occurred. I don’t think I can support a flower quality award at this time. I would be looking for larger size and greater color intensity for a flower award. I will follow up with the UH breeders to see if I can find any more information about it.


Jurahame Leyva (Accredited Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

My comments for Den. Haleahi Blush are as follows:

When judges are looking at an entry where 50% or more of the genetics are contributed by Den. biggibum or Den. phalaenopsis they should remember we call these "Den-Phal" type for a reason; and not because we succeeded in breeding them to Phalaenopsis! (I've met more than one judge who thought this was the case)... You really are looking at a Dendrobium whose overall inflorescence, arrangement and composition should look like that of a Phalaenopsis. So much so the handbook tells us to evaluate individuals of this section as if they were Phalaenopsis!

The first thing I look for in an entry is to see if the flowers are shingled like flowers on a Phalaenopsis would be. If yes- this is a good sign. If no - not a fatal flaw (for me), but I am unlikely to get to a high score if that is the case. Cascading or gracefully arching inflorescences are equally desirable. Inflorescence(s) held directly upwards are again- not fatal- but not in line with type and breeding.

--Our entry has neither perfectly shingled arrangement and inflorescences are held almost perfectly upright. That's minus pts from me for habit and arrangement.

Next, I examine composition of the individual flower. I want to see full and flat for every segment. All segments should be on the same plane. Small recurving is permissible - but not desirable. Petals should dominate. Petals should be full and, if possible, overlap where they meet the dorsal. Sepals and lip should accentuate the "roundness" of the flower. The dorsal should be broad, leaving no spaces or "windows" between it and the petals. "Windows" between the petals and dorsal or an overly hooded, cupped or recurved dorsal are fatal for me. The tips of lateral sepals should form a perfect equilateral triangle (much like in the Best Cattleyas) when lined up with the dorsal. These too should be full and flat. Modest cupping is acceptable, but not desirable. The lip should also be full and bent 90* to line up perfectly on plane with the rest of the segments. Lips typically are not truly flat- but when viewed head on should appear to be.

-- Our subject plant is generally pleasing. The dorsal recurves more than I would like, but not enough to make it unawardable. Sepals are beautifully flat and on the same plane as the petals and lip. I wish the lip was a little rounder to better fill the space between the sepals- but this is a point lost at most. 25.5 pts for flower form. 13 pts for overall shape and one point lost for the recurve of the dorsal and half a point lost for the lip.

Color is often controversial at the judging table. I generally tend towards bold and intense coloration, but can appreciate the subtle qualities of our subject plant. Remember- line & type of breeding! I think regardless of what intensity you like- we agree coloration must be consistent across the segments and the inflorescence as a whole. Overall color is clean and pleasing with no color break I can see. 

-- 25.5 pts for color.

Size is comparable compared to the other awards to the one parent- but are (in my opinion) on the smaller side for this type of breeding. It would have been nice to see an increase in this area - but that's a point or two for most of us. Floriferousness is also average. Assuming substance and texture are acceptable (these are often quite robust, substance wise, despite their dainty appearance and the very best are crystalline in texture when viewed in direct sunlight). You can see that here, in our subject plant, even without the benefit of full sun. 27 pts for "Other Characteristics".

Assuming my math is correct - that should put me in at 78 pts. I think that's fair for this plant on this flowering. 

Our subject plant is a lovely entry and should only get better. 

- Jurahame 

Elena Skoropad (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Twenty-one charming flowers and ten buds on three unstacked upright arching inflorescences up to 49-cm tall. Flowers cream with very pleasant peach blush and flares. The unique color combination makes these flowers extremely attractive. The flower form is good, petal, sepal segments are wide and flowers flat and proportional. I would nominate this plant for a flower quality award and I would score in mid to high HCC range. Lower flower count precluded from a higher award.

This plant is definitely a keeper because of its unique color form. Kudos to the grower!

Thank you,


MT Vijay (Student Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Twenty-one flowers, opened widely like a Phalaenopsis’ and neatly arranged, with 10 buds on three inflorescences, one erect and two arching, where the longest raceme is 49-cm. The fully opened flowers are pleasing, symmetrical, erect and exceptionally flat, and the color palate is beautiful.  It is a robust plant grown in what appears to be a 10cm circular plastic pot tightly housed in an oriental ceramic pot. This Hawaiian cross has several Australian Dendrobium species mixed in but all fade under the weight of Dendrobium biggibum’s, whose three varieties have imparted nearly 75 to 80% to both parents. Den. biggibum’s inflorescences are normally longer; perhaps, the influence of the others helped shorten it.  However, the measurements of the candidate flower are slightly larger than the recently awarded Den. biggibum var. superbum “Morright” AM/AOS. This plant does not appear mature enough for a cultural award, but the flowers can be considered for a flower quality award. The presentation would have looked better had the two arcing inflorescences been staked.

Monica DeWit (Accredited Judge, Western Canada Judging Center)

For this week's lovely Den. Haleahi Blush I would say ...

-Lovely unusual colour (Canadian spelling).

-Good self supporting, non branching inflorescences.

-Good form, fairly flat, distal petal margins pinched however.

-Arrangement is somewhat crowded, standards are high for this type--more flowers needed I'm afraid.

Monica De Wit 


Deb Bodei (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Dendrobium Haleahi Blush (Den. Waianae Blush x Den. Diane Shimazu)

Nicely grown phalaenopsis-type Dendrobium, doing what it should as far as form, flower count and size.

This one is all about the color, and the salmon blush is unique and very pleasing, and considering past awards for the parents, is an improvement. I especially like how the blush of the lip color highlights the beauty and texture of the callus.

I would nominate this plant for a flower award and expect a mid AM award.

Thank you,


Deb Boersma (Associate Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

This is a very pretty, delicate flower with the subtle blushing on the sepals and petals. The flower form is good, flower is flat and segments are nicely symmetrical. Petals are broad and gives the flower a full appearance. I really like the blushing on the segments and the color contrast of the light green color in the throat of the lip, the pink veining on the lip and the crystalline texture of the flower. The size and floriferousness seems to compare to that of the one awarded parent. The flower arrangement could be a bit better but overall, I think that the presentation is not too bad. With no awards to this grex, only one quality award to one parent and no awards to second parent there is little to compare to, other than what might be expected with this breeding. I think that if this showed up at the judging table I would nominate it for a quality award. I would give it a score an HCC 77.

Deb Boersma

Dr. Teresita D. Amore
Associate Researcher | Dept. of Tropical Plant & Soil Sciences | College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa | 3190 Maile Way Rm 102 | Honolulu, HI 96822

The orange/peachy color was of interest in the 90s. Actually, Dr. Kamemoto had a few peach selections in the late 80s, which we thought arose from gene mutation to switch the purple pigment (cyanidin) pathway to the orange (pelargonidin). In fact, Surawit Wannakrairoj who was also at WOC, selected the peach selection that we eventually cloned and registered in 1997 as Dendrobium Icy Peach. In the mid90s, the orange color was confirmed to be due to pelargonidin, although in lesser quantities.

Breeding was difficult with our hybrid registered in 1997 as Dendrobium Icy Pink because it was an aneuploid. The substance was not as good; growth was not as vigorous. It did not propagate easily in tissue culture, so it pretty much was a dead end.

As indicated in your forwarded email, Haleahi Blush was from the Sugita Family's nursery, Hawaiian Floral. The son, Darrell, was the one who was interested in the peach color, and made/registered Haleahi Blush. However, he passed away in 2011, and I am not aware of what has been bred since then.

Roy Tokunaga can shed some light too on the peach crosses. I think he had a Diane Shimazu hybrid that had a peachy tinge. It is unfortunate that these plants were not as easy to keep, so we lost plants during the greenhouse renovation and repair.

Thailand has done some hybridizing with the peach color. Surawit registered some of his crosses under Kasetsart University. I have seen more intense orange coloration from Thailand.

Here are some of the hybrids used as potted plants. I can ask if they were registered - although many of the Thai hybrids are unregistered.

I'll try to find better pictures in my files.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Teresita D. Amore

Exhibitor - Jan Takamiya, HI (Associate Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

Virtual Award Description

Twenty-one well presented full flowers and ten buds on three unstacked upright inflorescences up to 49-cm on a well grown plant 28-cm wide by 60-cm tall; flowers white overlaid blush coral pink apically; lip white, throat tinged light chartreuse yellow with darker pink venation and distal blushing in midlip; column pale green; substance firm; texture sparkling. Commended for good form and unusual color for a Phalaenopsis type Dendrobium. 

Grower's Advice

Thank you to my friends & mentors from Hawaii for the excellent photos, information & history on peach colored Den. Phals. Mature Den. Phals in general grow easily in Hawaii but need to be intentionally cultivated via aerial off shoots or division, or they can be easily lost, which is what happened to many of my species and hybrid Den. Phals. This plant is grown in medium bark, outside of the greenhouse next to ti leaves that provide filter from midday and afternoon sun, fertilized weekly except during winter. They come into the greenhouse just as spikes appear for protection from bugs and birds. Flowers last about 2 months.