Cattleya lobata

Week 61: June 1, 2021

Cattleya lobata

New candidate for this week is Cattleya lobata var. alba ('Horich' HCC/AOS x 'Sandra')

Cattleya lobata, Lindl. 1848, previously known as Laelia lobata, growing in SE part of Brazil. There are several color forms of this species. This plant produced pure white flowers and known as horticultural var. alba. Kew only recognizes all as lobata.

Previous Awards:

There are 15 AOS awards for this species including all color forms/var. Only 2 AOS awards for alba.


There are 11 flowers on 3 inflorescences. Plant width is 70 cm, height without flower spike is 50 cm, with flower spike - 60 cm. Around 28 growths total, growing in 10 inch clay pot.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 13.0 cm; NS V -16.0 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 1.5 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 8.2 cm;

Petal W - 4.0 cm; Petals L - 7.9 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 1.5 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 8.0 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 4.2 cm; Lip/Pouch L - 6.2 cm.

Judges' Comments

Ginna Plude (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

The candidate plant's flowers are a nice crisp white. The outdoor photo shows that even better than the photo against the black background. Size is pretty well within the range for all color types. The overall flower count is low for a plant that size which precludes it from being considered for culture. From a flower quality standpoint though the count per inflorescences is also on the lower side, just under 4 per inflorescence where 5 to 6 seems more the norm. The form looks pretty consistent for the species as well, across all color forms, with the dorsal sepal appearing to be a bit more rolled than other examples. I'm not sure that I would nominate it for a flower quality award but if I had to score it it would probably be in the middle HCC range.

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Eleven flowers on three suboptimally staked erect inflorescences with fairly obvious senescence of several blooms. Best flowers could garner a low flower award (HCC) on next bloom when much earlier, proximate staking would likely be helpful in enhancing the presentation. It seems that only one true alba form has been awarded ‘Castle Pride’, CCM 81 points, 1994, carrying 60 not well formed (Read: quite awful) flowers and 7 buds on 14 inflorescences (grown by the Smithsonian). The description states some yellow in throat, usually a carotinoid pigment, fine for an alba. The other ostensibly alba was Horich, HCC 75 points, 1988. The description states "extremely faint delicate pink veins on lip", indicating anthocyanin pigment and therefore NOT a true alba but, at best perhaps, an albescent. Since no official recognition of the alba form is on record, one might elect to recognize this plant as such by giving a CHM for the color form. Some might not. In my opinion, there are adequate numbers of good flowers to grant the CHM now. Waiting for the next bloom is fine if one is happy to risk unanticipated events: Hurricanes, fires, other acts of God.

Tom Mirenda (Accredited Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

Stunningly beautiful and vigorous alba form of a species that we don’t see too regularly.

Other than slight off-white color shift in the lip, as pristine a white flower as I’ve ever seen.

The species generally has form issues….but the ones here are almost forgivable as they are better than typical forms.

Worst is the rolling of dorsal sepal….but at least it is upright….petals also roll back somewhat but not too terribly.

Lip is exceptionally nice. Could consider low Merit award 76 or 77pts.

Under flowered for consideration of cultural award at this time. Considering the # of growths.

Phyllis Prestia (Accredited Judge, Pacific South Judging Center)

C. lobata “Sweet Memories” HCC/AOS is a comparable alba plant. The awarded plant has a few more flowers. Generally the measurements are the same or a little bigger than our plant of this week. Flower form is very similar. I see very little improvement in our clone. I don’t see a good reason to give it a quality award. In addition, I wouldn’t give it a culture award. The plant does not have enough flowers for the size of the plant. Flowers are not pleasingly placed around the plant.

That said, I wouldn’t kick it off my bench.


Deb Boersma (Student Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

Cattleya lobata var. alba (‘Horich’ HCC/AOS x ‘Sandra’)

Very pristine white flowers that are absolutely stunning, displayed on a very healthy and well grown plant, kudos to the grower. The flower has typical form for this species, very frilly lip and undulated petals and narrow dorsal and lateral sepals. The alba variant has a beauty of its’ own, very delicate and pristine. The flower size is comparable to the other alba forms, sepal widths a little narrower but the lip is wider. The flowers are well presented all around the circumference of the plant. It is floriferous with 11 flowers, more than many of the awarded cultivars but perhaps not enough to warrant a cultural award. Looks as though, on close inspection, there is some damage to one of the flowers but I still think it is worthy of a quality award.

I would nominate this plant for a quality award and scored it at low AM 81

Deborah Bodei (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Cattleya lobata var. alba


This is a graceful species and not many people grow it. I think it is because they aren’t often offered for sale. This is a nice large, healthy plant. It's flowering nicely, but may be asking to be divided at this point. Given enough sun this plant can produce more blooms. The flowers seem to be presenting facing upward, so maybe it was growing on a lower shelf and looking to the sun?

The flower form does not compare to some of the latest international awards as far as symmetry, size and segment width. I compared it to the only AOS flower award photo on file for alba (Horich 1988) which is also one of the clonal parents, and it comes close to sizes, but is not as symmetrical as the awarded one. I also suspect ‘Sweet Memories’ (1997) may be an alba according to the description and it is not quite coming up to par with the form there.

Not an award for me this time but it is very nice to see this plant.


Not on this flowering.

Thank you,


Sergey Skoropad (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Cattleya lobata.

Lovely alba form of the species. Rarely seen in orchid collections, probably because not often available for sale.

Out of 15 AOS awards for C. lobata only 2 listed as alba. Flower form looks similar to awarded clone ‘Horich’ HCC/AOS (1988), which is one of the parents, and little better than ‘Castle Bride’ CCM/AOS (1994). Looks like flowers of C. lobata didn’t receive much improvement over the years for their form and size as C. purpurata or others similar species. Most of the awarded plants regardless of flower color form have similar flowers (form and size).

I found flowers of our candidate is in the range to compare to the other awarded plants. The most interesting part of the flower is the lip, wide and beautifully presented. Number of the flowers per inflorescence is a little low but still acceptable. Dorsal is not great but at least stay straight.

I believe that these flowers worth low HCC (76-77 pts). In my personal experience, low HCC is the most difficult award to get, so I’m giving a chance for this one!

Another option is CHM to recognize alba form of this species, but in this case I would like to hear opinion of the judges, more experienced in botanical awards.



Exhibitor - David and Joan Rosenfeld, NJ

Virtual Award Description

Eleven nicely-presented flowers on three upright inflorescences: flower pristine white; sepals lanceolate, dorsal sepal proximal margins reflexed, apically recurved; petals elliptical, margins undulate, defined midrib; lip tubular, encloses column, central raised white veins, margin very ruffled; substance soft; texture matte.

Grower's Advice

I bought this plant 25 years ago from Stewart's Orchids. Divided several times. Culture is typical for Cattleya. Grown in clay pot in bark mixture. I wonder if I could it more light whether it would bloom more profusely.