Bulbophyllum lepidum

Week 65: July 28, 2021

Bulbophyllum lepidum


New candidate for this week is Bulbophyllum lepidum.

Bulbophyllum lepidum (Blume) J.J.Sm., 1905 is accepted species by WCSP, Kew. This species has a long list of the synonyms names. Bulbophyllum lepidum is not a very common species in cultivation and its native range is Indo-China to Hainan and West and Central Malesia. There are several color form of this species.

Previous Awards:

There is just one AOS award for this species - Bulbophyllum lepidum 'Irene' CBR/AOS (0 points) granted in October 2015. Looks like color of the flowers on cultivar 'Irene' is a little different from current candidate. Also, in OrchidPro I found discrepancies in the number of flowers and inflorescences: in description and measurements its entered as 19 flowers on one inflorescence, however from the pictures clearly I can see two inflorescences with probably the same number of flowers.


Bulbophyllum lepidum has 10 flowers on one inflorescence 25 cm long. The plant is 13 cm tall by 21 cm wide and is growing in 8 cm plastic basket in moss. The plant has 5 mature growths plus 4 new just started growths, pseudobulbs are 2 cm long, 2 cm apart from each other and leaves are 3 cm wide by10 cm long.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 0.8 cm; NS V - 2.8 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 0.2 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 0.7 cm;

Petal W - 0.1 cm; Petals L - 0.4 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 0.4 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 2.4 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 0.2 cm; Lip/Pouch L - 0.4 cm.

Judges' Comments

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

There are at least 4 awards. Confused with flabellum-veneris. Look at orchid wiz.

Check about differences/controversies.

This plant is not awardable in any case.

Laura Newton (Accredited Judge, Florida North Central Judging Center)

Al is correct that flabellum-veneris are now classified as lepidum. I am waiting on confirmation from Ron so that I can change all the awards over (Just want to be sure that they are correct in all cases, as some look a little different)…

Yes a CHM could certainly be granted if the flowers/plants are different in appearance.

Laura Newton

AOS Awards Registrar

Bill Thoms (bulbophyllums.com)

Hi Sergey, here's my take:

I think it is gamosepalum, even though Kew thinks it is a synonym. I believe they are different species (I agree with Garay on this one). The flowers are flat when fully open, toothed apically on the lateral sepals, with no "fenestrations" in the sepal presentation. Plant is no help because they are all very variable. This complex is similar to the lobbii group in that there are many names for many similar species along the range.

Sorry to not be more helpful.


Tom Mirenda (Accredited Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

While this is a nice cultivar of the {alleged} species,

I’ve found that there is way too much confusion in what may be a hybrid swarm in this group….

And even with SITF’s reviews it may still be difficult to determine exactly what this is.

Sorry to be such a pessimist….but this group frustrated me a lot while at the Smithsonian

And I could never really get clarity and certainty about them….

Unfortunately, in addition, this small division (or seedling?...would be helpful to know which)

Bloomed with an imperfect inflorescence….with great inconsistencies between individual flowers

I don’t think I can judge this plant on this particular blooming,,,,

I would like to see it again when it becomes a little stronger,

and has multiple inflorescences that might display some consistency

Deborah Bodei (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Bulbophyllum lepidum


Considering that this species is generally robust and floriferous, I am not looking at it for culture. I am also struggling with enough points for a flower award. The flowers (according to what I can see in the photos) are not pristine, but past prime with sepal margins turning under and flowers drooping instead of standing straight out from the umbel. That could explain the inconsistencies in form of the flowers on this one same umbel as well. It does have enough flowers on the single inflorescence.

What can we consider as far as an award for this plant? What it does have going for it is an interesting color if it can be confirmed a lepidum. The patterning is different from other color forms photos found and does not create that darker ring around the center dispersing to a lighter color. I would almost question this candidate to be a mislabeled hybrid.


I would prefer to see this plant in person to examine it more closely before I was inclined to nominate it for a CHM for its unique color.

Thank you for considering my commentary,


Alejandro Capriles (Accredited Judge, Società Felsinea di Orchidofilia, Bologna, Italy, retired AOS Judge)

Very pleasing flowers with rich maroon dorsal sepals and rust-red fused lateral sepals, although not perfectly distributed on a single inflorescence and the width of the lateral sepals could be wider. It may not necessarily be a first-bloom plant, but this is clearly either a young seedling or a small division. I personally prefer to see this species blooming with more than one stem in order to display its beauty to the fullest. I would encourage the exhibitor to present the plant again when it’s more mature.

Rosalia Amato (Student Judge, Società Felsinea di Orchidofilia, Bologna, Italy)

The flowers on this graceful Bulbophyllum lepidum in my opinion are well distributed on the stem, they form a beautiful fully open fan-shaped inflorescence and also the maroon color of the flowers is quite saturated. It is certainly a young plant so it’s probably a first flowering, but I would prefer to see it again when the flowering is more profuse.

Ettore di Giovanni (Student Judge, Società Felsinea di Orchidofilia, Bologna, Italy)

This young plant bears a single inflorescence with ten flowers that are not quite perfectly arranged. It has already received a Certificate of Botanical Recognition from the AOS in the past and this particular individual does not seem to me in line with the standard of previous awards to the species, despite having an unusual and very attractive color.

Phyllis Prestia (Accredited Judge, Pacific South Judging Center)

This species is capable of an abundance of floriforescenses. With just one inflorescence and not much difference in measurements from the CBR, I am inclined not to judge it on this bloom, but encourage the exhibitor to grow it up into a more robust plant.

That said, this one flower has a much better shape than any awarded considering other clones. And the overlay of red on the yellow flower is very nice. It has potential. I wouldn’t nominate it, but if all team members wanted to score it, I could give it a 75 76 HCC, putting it on record.


Deb Boersma (Student Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

Bulbophyllum lepidum

I like the color of our candidate better than the yellow colored cultivars but I found that some of the lateral sepals are recurved at the ends and not as flat as the cultivar ’Oscar’s Gift’ awarded an HCC. The flowers are not arranged as uniformly on the umbel and appear to have an inconsistent length from one flower to another. The number of flowers and size of the plant would eliminate for possible cultural award however, it does have more flowers per inflorescence than ‘Oscar Gift’ with 78 flowers on 10 inflorescences and our candidate has 10 flowers on one inflorescence. It has a slightly bigger natural spread than some of the other awarded plants 0.8 cm x 2.8 cm compared to ‘Oscars Gift’ at 0.8 cm x 2.3 cm. It’s difficult to see the petals and dorsal sepals other than the darker color, contrasts nicely with the lateral sepal. I don’t think that I would nominate this plant for a quality award on this flowering, perhaps when it has more inflorescences.

Exhibitor - Sergey and Elena Skoropad, NJ (Associate Judges, Northeast Judging Center)

Grower's Advice

I found all judges’ comments very helpful. As Bill Thoms and Tom Mirenda mentioned, it’s not clear if this plant is straight Bulbophyllum lepidum. I decided to submit this plant because of its interesting (and I think different) color compared to the ‘standard’ Bulbophyllum lepidum.

We bought this plant a year ago from J&L Orchids in CT, but I believe, originally plant came from Taiwan - Ten Shin Gardens, in 2019. I will try to check with them if this is a straight species (Bulbophyllum lepidum).

Plant flowered at least 3 times during one year with one or two inflorescences at the time. Usually flowers stay straight (I watered plant before I made photos and video, so flowers weren’t so straight/flat).

It has been growing in 8 cm plastic basket in moss in the house during the winter and outside in the summer. Repotted in the larger basket few days ago.