Dendrobium amabile

Week 66: August 9, 2021

Dendrobium amabile

New candidate for this week is Dendrobium amabile.

Dendrobium amabile (Lour.) O'Brien, 1909 is accepted species by WCSP, Kew. This species is native to Hainan, China and Vietnam. This species belongs to Dendrobium section Densiflora, Finet 1903 (synonym - section Callista, Lour 1790). This section includes 14 species.

Previous Awards:

There are 12 AOS awards for this species since 2007 (CHM in 2007, then 6 flower quality awards and 5 cultural awards, including 2 CCE).


Dendrobium amabile has 135 flowers (28 fl., 32 fl., 29 fl., 46 fl.) on 4 inflorescences plus one immature inflorescence from 22 cm to 31 cm. The plant is 60 cm tall by 65 cm wide and is growing in 14 cm plastic basket in moss. The plant has 29 canes, including 7 leafless.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 5.5 cm; NS V - 4.0 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 1.4 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 2.5 cm;

Petal W - 2.3 cm; Petals L - 2.8 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 1.4 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 2.8 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 2.4 cm; Lip/Pouch L - 2.2 cm.

Judges' Comments

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

This "lovely" Dendrobium warms the heart of the grower as well as the observer. The Densiflora group produces very large flower counts with limited, yet reasonable, bloom longevity. This plant does not qualify for a cultural award on this bloom but will most certainly achieve one in the future. (Suggest hanging plant on a swivel to change plant position with each watering in order to encourage some sort of circumferential bloom). Flowers of this plant are standard for the species without any distinction to suggest a flower award, in my opinion. But Oh! How awardable those ordinary flowers would look if there were 700-800 of them!!

Deb Boersma (Student Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

Dendrobium amabile

This looks like a well grown healthy plant with a great presentation of the flowers. The flowers have a nice faint lavender blushing on the petals and sepals, the lip has a contrasting dark yellow throat. Petals and lateral sepals are held flat but the dorsal is somewhat more cupped than most of the other award cultivars. Flower size is within range of the average of the awarded plants, likewise with the number of flowers per inflorescence. The lip looks like it is almost translucent, I am not sure if this is normal or the flower is past its prime. Some of the awarded cultivars have more saturated and vibrant colors, although this is a pretty flower, I don’t think it has enough going for it to nominate it for a quality award.

It appears that this species can be extremely floriferous, our candidate would not qualify for a cultural award with 135 flowers but perhaps in the future.

Kristen Mason (Accredited Judge, Cincinnati Judging Center)

Thank you for the lovely Dendrobium species. This is a good representation of Dendrobium amabile, nicely grown and presented, in good condition with good color - as most amabile have. While I would love to be able to grow this species at this level, I do not feel that it quite measures up to the awarded clones and does not have any features that sets it apart. I would pass on scoring this flowering for either quality or cultural award.

Bob Winkley (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Thank you for sending along this charming candidate. It's always a pleasure to see this species whose epithet translates to 'lovable' - it certainly fits that bill!

Looking at the candidate, it has lovely, pastel coloration in the petals and sepals. The contrasting dark egg yolk yellow disc in the lip is quite eye catching. Overall flower size is in the award ballpark with the petals and lip fairly well proportioned.

That said, there are a few aspects that would keep me from nominating the plant for an award at this time. From a cultural point of view, this plant is quite young and needs time to grow into a specimen that can hold 12+ inflorescences bearing maximum numbers of flowers (upwards of 50+/-) per inflorescence.

In terms of flower quality, I find the sepals to be a bit narrow in relationship to the flower, giving it a more open form than I would like to see in this species or any of the other Densiflora species. It seems that it is normal for the dorsal to cant forward a bit but in the close ups of our candidate it appears to come forward quite a bit, forming almost a hood. There is one inflorescence that approaches the flower count exhibited in the award record, where the averages are definitely in the mid-40s per inflorescence; our candidate is averaging much lower. Finally, while this species is not known for having great substance, our candidate appears to have very light substance based on my ability to see prominent veins in the sepals; the only way to really tell would be to visit the flower in person.

While I would pass on this candidate, I would thank the grower for allowing it to grace our judging table.

Bob W.

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

I believe in my opinion that the inflorescences of this lovable Dendrobium are not enhanced by how they appear on the plant. The stems should be stronger and the racemes should be well distributed around the perimeter in order to highlight their elegant, pendulous bearing. The flowers are larger than average in size but the form and color fall below current standards. No award granted.

Stefano Bioni (Student Judge, Società Felsinea di Orchidofilia, Bologna, Italy)

135 flowers in 4 inflorescences, plant in good health with a good arrangement of the flowers on the stem, good flatness of the lip, the petals are however disproportionate to the average of the species, and the sepals could be more extended and the color could be more intense. No award granted.

Filippo Pilloni (Student Judge, Società Felsinea di Orchidofilia, Bologna, Italy)

Well grown, not a great flowering considering the size of the plant in question.

The flowers are neither huge nor particularly colorful or exceptionally shaped.

I would say a candidate for a Certificate of Cultural Merit, no further.

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

The size, shape, color and number of individual flowers are in line with the species. The flowers are carried by racemes with a good density, on a plant of considerable size which nevertheless maintains a graceful appearance. It promises to become a beautiful specimen. From the photos it seems to me that its greatest quality is precisely the compactness of the plant and the inflorescences, which make it more suitable for growing at home or in limited spaces. No award granted.

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

Attractive, well-grown plant displaying 135 flowers on 4 pendulous inflorescences. Graceful presentation of the flowers but individually the lack in color intensity and the shape of the petals and sepals are well below the standards for the species, although the size is in fact within the norm. I would like to see the plant grown a few more years and presented as a specimen plant when it could be considered for a Certificate of Cultural Merit. At the present condition, I would grant no award.

Deb Bodei (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Dendrobium amabile


The plant is immaculately grown and attractively displayed with canes giving a shorter, more compact appearance than the typical. It looks like many flowers covering a small plant. The flowers are in pristine condition, but nothing is setting the blooms apart in form, color or size from others awarded. The size of the flowers/segments fall slightly above the average of some of the awarded. However, the arrangement on the inflorescences seems spaced far apart between the blooms giving them a sparser look compared to others awarded.

When I look at the plant for a cultural award, the candidate is in a much smaller container and makes a nice showing. However, the other plants awarded for culture with a similar number of growth and number of inflorescences have a greater number of blooms on each inflorescence than our candidate which has 34 flowers per infl. For example, ‘Amparo’ awarded a CCM of 83 in 2014 was closer to 50 blooms per infl. These plants have the capability of growing into large specimens with many flowers.


Although it is a well grown plant and displays a nice flowering for its size, I would have to pass on nominating this plant for an award on this bloom.

Thanks for considering my comments,


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

Grower's Advice

I decided to submit this plant because of several reasons: first, it’s not very common Den. species what people grow on East Coast. I found that this type of Dendrobiums likes Hawaii type weather and no question can grow there as a beautiful large specimen plant.

Second reason: I believe that Den. amabile wasn’t common even in 19th century. Although this type of Dendrobium has been described in 18th century I couldn’t find any lithographs in famous Lindenia book (5 volumes) from 1885 to 1906!!!

I have found all judges’ comments very helpful. All judges prefer to see larger plant with more flowers which this type of Dendrobiums should produce.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy here on East Coast, especially if you grow orchids without greenhouse!

We bought this plant from Mac’s Orchids from Ft. Lauderdale, FL about 6 years ago. Plant bloomed almost every year with one or two inflorescences. This is the first time when this plant decided to bloom with 4 inflorescences, now we are enjoying the fifth and last blooming inflorescence.

We grow this Den. in 6” plastic basket with a little of moss. Giving the plant medium light.