Chysis bractescens

Week 52: March 29,2021

Chysis bractescens

Week 52, WOW!

One Year Anniversary of Virtual Judging Exercise!

For this anniversary week, I have decided to present Chysis bractescens, the first plant shown on Virtual Judging one year ago.

This week this fantastic plant is blooming with even more flowers and the plant size is larger than a year ago.

Chysis bractescens Lindl. (1840) is accepted name by WCSP (Kew). This species is native to Central America, specifically Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Previous Awards:

There are 27 AOS awards for this species, including 11 cultural awards. The most recent award is Chysis bractescens 'Bodacious' AM/AOS 86 pts (Apr 09, 2017). The latest cultural award is Chysis bractescens 'Jarden botanique de Montreal' CCM/AOS 86 pts (Mar 27, 2010), displaying 34 flowers on 6 inflorescences.


There are 43 flowers and 11 buds on 7 inflorescences emerging from 3 immature growths. Total number of pseudobulbs is 17 - the most recent 3 are the largest (size of pseudobulb from base of growth is about 36 cm). Size of the plant with the leaves - 90 cm x 85 cm. Plant is an 8 inch plastic basket, in sphagnum moss.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 8.7 cm; NS V - 8.2 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 1.8 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 4.0 cm;

Petal W - 1.8 cm; Petals L - 4.5 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 2.5 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 4.2 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 1.6 cm; Lip/Pouch L - 2.6 cm.

Judges' Comments

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Forty four flowers and eleven buds on seven inflorescences beautifully grown on a dramatically improved, already well-grown, deciduous

Central American species appear to be the most flowers (if technically not the most floriferous) presented for AOS judging of any plant of the same species.

Condition of bloom and foliage (it's deciduous) excellent. In my opinion, a CCE with no difficulty.

Suggestion: For formal judging, remove dried brachts which detract slightly. This is a plant to be admired as best of its kind thus far. A privilege to see it!

Ginna Plude (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

This is a beautifully grown plant with good flower production. It exceeds the flower/bud count of the CCE overall, which on just flower count this plant might rate a CCE. The biggest differences I see however is the CCE has an avg of 8 flowers per inflorescence, on a 9 pseudobulb plant. The candidate is 17 pseudobulbs with a similar flower count per inflorescence. The flowers also appear to be somewhat more crowded on the candidate vs. the CCE. The flowers look typical for the species and are lovely, however I don't think I would consider a flower quality award. Because this is a considerably larger plant than the CCE with a flower count not also proportionately larger I don't think this is a CCE candidate, but I would nominate it for a culture award and score it somewhere in the mid-80s.

Thanks and kudos to the grower. It really is lovely.

Kristen Mason (Accredited Judge, Cincinnati Judging Center)

Wow, beautifully grown and flowered, robust plant, large flowers for number of blooms, flowers and plant in good condition. Flowers a little crowded. Flowers average, would not nominate for quality award. Well deserving of cultural award - I pointed it at 92 CCE

Tom Mirenda (Accredited Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

A lovely and well-bloomed specimen plant. Always exciting to see plants living up to their potentials and this plant is doing so.

I wonder what the future holds

It appears to have more flowers than any previous cultural award of this species. I know this plant very easy to make cultural errors due to the fact it would seem to require a prolonged rest because of the large pseudobulbs. Indeed it would suffer if left dry for a prolonged period and this grower seems to have mastered its needs and subtleties well. In my book, this means a cultural award is warranted to the grower. While the blooming is profuse and dramatic, it is not evenly bloomed throughout and flowers themselves are not as round and full as other clones I’ve seen precluding a flower quality award.

Even so, it is a remarkable blooming due to the number of flowers on each inflorescence as well ad the number of inflorescences

And I think it is borderline for a CCE. I suspect it can and will score much higher in the future if the grower continues on its present cultural trajectory….well done

Deb Boersma (Student Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

Chysis bractescens

Beautiful pristine white flower with a contrasting yellow lip with midlobe deep ridges and brown stripes. Flower has overall good form, some reflexing of the dorsal sepal, great floriferousness but flower size and segments are a little smaller than other awarded plants. Flower is not as flat as some of the other awarded plants. The flowers are beautiful but not superior to other quality awards.

I do not think that I would nominate this for a quality award but it is more floriferous than the other cultural awarded plants with 6.4 flowers per inflorescence and a good size plant. I would score it as a CCM, if there had been flowers all around the circumference of the plant, I would think it would deserve a CCE.

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

This species if one of the easiest plants I have ever grown. I have it is an unheated greenhouse, my Cattleya greenhouse and the Phalaenopsis and seedling greenhouse and they all thrive and flower profusely. This entry is well grown, but what I would expect of a plant this size. The flowers are smaller than normal and not as wide of segments that I expect for this species. Give it a few more years and I can see it getting a cultural award, but for now I would pass.

Judges overscore plants and in this case the cultural awards are an example of this. All of the previous cultural awards were overscored. I have put 40 plus flowers on this species in a 4 inch pot and I am not ever trying. I love judging in the whole as it is likely that at least one of the judges has experience with the plant and you avoid overscoring for the most part.. I did not look where the previous awards were from nor do I wish to. I would put my statements forward as to how easy this species is to grow and if the team wanted to award the plant I would recuse myself.

Trevor Yee (Accredited Judge, AOC, Australia)

A very fine specimen shown and presented to a high standard. Most of the flowers are positioned on one half of the plant making it easy to view though ideally having flowers all around would be highly desirable.

43 + 11 buds is extremely well flowered (considering some of the AOS cultural awards have fewer flowers when awarded). The petals and sepals are crystalline white without any noticeable blemish. Size of the flowers are consistent across the racemes. However, sometimes too many flowers causes bunching and it is evident in this candidate.

The plant is very clean and pseudobulbs have been meticulously cleared of the leaf bracts. The remaining leaves are still in good condition with no visible insect damage or disease. Overall the owner has exemplified superior orchid culture.

I don't feel the flowers are of award quality in this instance, but I would be happy to nominate this candidate for an Award of Cultural Merit (ACM) under the AOC rules, for 84 points.

Deb Bodei (Associate Judge Northeast Judging Center)

Chysis bractescens


The plant is attractive overall but what is most impressive is how it is impeccably grown. These plants need a lot of air movement and careful watering not to be affected by botrytis and other spotting on those white blooms. Its well-flowered and the condition of the blooms are pristine.

The flower itself is also very attractive. The coloring and markings of the lip give it a really nice character with the contrast of yellow and golden mustard yellow. The slight blush of yellow distally on the segments is nice without any hint of other colors makes it rather unique. Most of the other awarded plants include a pink hue. This flower resembles the awarded ‘Robin Hood’ from 1987, with larger segments.


I would nominate this plant for a cultural award and score a high CCM. If I could find a bloom that was not crowded by the others, I would also make a nomination for a flower award and expect an AM.

Thank you,


Exhibitor - David and Joan Rosenfeld, NJ

Virtual Award Description

Forty-three flowers and eleven buds nicely-displayed on seven inflorescences on three newly emergent growths on a 90-cm wide by 85-cm tall plant comprised of 17 leafless pseudobulbs to 36cm, grown in an 8-inch plastic basket in sphagnum moss; sepals and petals elliptical, cream-color, distal faint yellow overlay, margins slightly undulate; lip trilobed, cream-color, side lobes upright, inrolled, proximally yellow, basally striped mustard brown, midlobe callus 5-ridged, longitudinal to undulate and curled upward margins, yellow, overlaid mustard brown; column cream-white, anther cap yellow; substance hard; texture matte.

Grower's Advice

We purchased this plant in 2012. Chysis it is grown in a plastic 8 inch basket with sphagnum moss. Watered weekly with dilute fertilizer. Low to intermediate light. In the warm greenhouse can be up to 90F in the summer, winter low is 60F. This plant is tricky to repot. Rapidly growing out of the pot and have been repotting every year.