Oncidium harryanum

Week 75: Dec 20, 2021

Oncidium harryanum


New candidate for this week and last candidate in this year is Oncidium harryanum.

Oncidium harryanum (Rchb.f.) M.W.Chase & N.H.Williams, 2008 is accepted species by WCSP, Kew. This species is native to Colombia and Peru. This species is well known as Odontoglossum harryanum Rchb.f. (1886).

Previous Awards:

There are 10 AOS awards for Oncidium harryanum. The most recent award was in October 2017, cultivar 'Harry's Vision' HCC/AOS 79 pts.

Interesting that this species newer received any botanical awards (accepted species or synonyms).


Oncidium harryanum has 14 flowers on 2 inflorescences up to 40 cm (8 flowers and 6 flowers per inflorescence). The plant has 6 pseudobulbs with leaves and 2 leafless pseudobulbs and grown in 10 cm plastic pot in bark mix. Plant is 65 cm wide and 26 cm tall.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 5.3 cm; NS V - 7.5 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 1.3 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 4.0 cm;

Petal W - 1.4 cm; Petals L - 3.0 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 1.2 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 4.5 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 3.3 cm; Lip/Pouch L - 4.6 cm.

Judges' Comments

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Fourteen flowers on two arched inflorescences present a colorful display. A very important aspect of exhibition is culture and grooming, which is immediately visible to the observer/judge. This plant appears to grow well but suffers from, perhaps, inexperienced care. When a plant is presented for judging, it is quite important to groom the plant/foliage. This can and should be performed to display the candidate plant in as natural a manner as possible. The leaves should be trimmed of distal necrotic material so that, as much as possible, the natural form of the leaf is maintained, albeit shorter. While this will result in score down pointing, in many cases it might allow a judge to score the plant in the award range for culture, generally speaking.

The best features of this plant are the color and sharp markings of the lip with no 'bleeding'. However, the floriferousness is below the median of prior awards although the size is about average. The limiting factor, in terms of awards, is the extreme anteversion/anteflexion and antecurving of the severely porrect petals. At least one prior award displayed this antecurving (Oncidium harryanum 'Harry's Vision' HCC |AOS | (79 points). I disagree with this award. All others had mostly non-antecurved petals (eg::Oncidium harryanum 'Ingrid D' AM |AOS | (80 points); Oncidium harryanum 'Mary Ellen Gray' AM |AOS | (83 points).

In my opinion, judges should encourage improvement in all aspects of orchidology, not regression. Therefore, while this plant makes a nice, colorful appearance, the problems of form should not be promulgated nor rewarded. No award, in my opinion,


Note: The initial award to this species was a Judges Commendation to Odm. harryanum 'Tenche' JC/AOS , 1967 August 3.

The sole description, found only in Orchid Wiz:' Commended for rarity and botanical interest'. This description would indicate a CBR by today's standard and, even 54 years ago, should have been a CBM. Was this an inadvertent error? A purposeful error? It's anyone's guess but one suggestion: It's easier for a busy, inundated judging team to write a six word description than a long botanical description with, at that time, botanical confirmation requirements from independent taxonomists around the world. This was the responsibility of the exhibitor and could be quite costly and time consuming. Today, this plant initially would be recognized with a CBR (or CHM) and would be confirmed botanically at no cost to the exhibitor by the Species Identification Task Force (SITF), a great service established by the AOS for its members well over a decade ago.

Kristen Mason (Accredited Judge, Cincinnati Judging Center)

Thank you for submitting this lovely flower. I love the pattern on the lip and the dorsal sepal. The slight purple flush at the base of the petals adds interest and harmonized beautifully with the lip. Size is average. Flower count is low per inflorescence but makes up for it some by having 2 inflorescences. Shape of sepals is not as flat as awarded clones. Lip shape is inconsistent. Presentation is not as good as awarded clones. While nice, I would not nominate it for a quality award. The plant and flower count are not yet on a level to consider a cultural award.

Deb Boersma (Student Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

Oncidium harryanum

A nicely grown and flowered plant, flowers have a beautiful lip with the magenta coloration and striated pattern and nice markings on the dorsal sepal. The flower color and saturation appear to be comparable to the awarded clone ‘Harry’s Vision’. The horizontal markings on dorsal sepal of the awarded plants are more prominent and appealing than on the candidate plant. This species has petals that are extremely cupped forward and turned outwards at the ends, although there is some variation in the degree of petal openness from flower to flower when looking at the awarded plants. This candidate has very closed petals compared to some of the awarded plants, I think this makes it look a little less appealing. In terms of size, it is somewhat smaller in natural spread and flower segments when compared to averages of awarded plants, in particular the width of the dorsal sepal is much smaller than the average. It is within range in terms of floriferousness however the flowers are not as nicely displayed on the inflorescence compared to other awards.

Although a beautiful flower, I would not nominate this plant for an award at this time.

Ginna Plude (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Interesting plant Oncidium harryanum. The candidate color combination is interesting, with the lip complimented nicely by the deep caramel sepals. The petals, what we can see of them are difficult to tell the color, but the obverse is very light which does not add to the overall appearance. I would not consider the plant for a flower award because of the petals being closed around the column like they are. In previously awarded plants there appears to be better positioning of the petals. Some are quite open while others are held forward but not clasped around the column. The flower count is also below the previously awarded plants.


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

The plant has two well-arranged stems and, a rare feature for the species, with flowers spaced apart so as not to get in the way of each other. The flowers are of considerable size, although the petals are perfectly closed against the column, hiding it almost completely. Although most hybridizers could most likely try to modify this feature to give a more open flower, I find it peculiarly attractive and therefore an added value.

The color is very well defined and divides the flower into 4 parts: mustard for the back, yellowish for the back of the petals, violet and white for the lip.

The species has proved to be very floriferous, capable of bearing with 2 stems per pseudobulb and up to 11 flowers per single stem. I therefore believe and hope that the plant can be re-presented with a better flowering than this.

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

Very attractive example of this beautiful species. Dimensions are slightly larger than the standard and although it’s possible to have the petals further apart, I find the forward position of the petals as presented in this cultivar rather pleasing. I find the coloration and the markings, particularly on the lip, to be very attractive, although there have been some awards with darker, more intense tones. The number of powers is the main drawback in my view - it’s not unusual to find stems bearing more than 10 flowers, this being a floriferous species. I would prefer to see this cultivar in a subsequent, more vigorous flowering, therefore I would give it a score of 74 points as it’s presented here.

Deb Bodei (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Oncidium harryanum


Species with a unique appearance having tightly clasped petals and reflexed apices. It has been widely used in breeding for its lip and seems as if it is the background of every widely popular Oncidium and Odontoglossum hybrid. I don't often get to see this species presented, so it is certainly nice to see it on our virtual judging table.

Our candidate is nicely grown and overall mostly resembles the latest awarded plant in 2017, 'Harry's Vision', which received an HCC/AOS of 79pts. When comparing form, I found our candidate to be less consistent than the prior awarded with twisting in more of the segments, especially the lower sepals. It could be the angle of the photographs taken, but the very tight clasping of the petals completely obscure the column, giving a less attractive appearance than some of the prior awarded which allow the column to peek through and give the flowers a more open and balanced look.

The color looks similar to 'Harry's Vision' and seems lighter in color than some of the other awarded, but hard to be sure from photos. The color contrast is pleasing though. The lip markings are attractive.

Finally the arrangements of the inflorescence seem like the buds may have been reaching for light with spacing much further apart than the awarded which are spaced closer and showed more uniform shingling overall. There is a lot of plant for two inflorescences, so maybe needed more light? Overall the measurements are smaller in some cases and slightly larger in others but not resulting in a noteworthy difference to the appearance of the flower.


Although nicely grown and presented, I don't find any outstanding characteristics that would cause me to nominate it on this flowering.

Thank you,


William Bottoms (Student Judge, Carolinas Judging Center)

I was unfamiliar with this species before looking at the images today. Just in viewing the images presented I am immediately struck by the lip on this species, the bright raspberry red markings over the stark white base color is eye-catching to say the least. I also like that the color doesn’t bleed over or spot toward the apex and that your left with the pure white. I also like the pale raspberry overlay on the reverse of the petals that I didn’t notice on any of the awarded cultivars. Compared to the awards record, I would comment that the color appears less rich on the petals and sepals of the candidate plant than the cultivars on record. I also seems slightly underflowered and maybe slightly smaller than the awarded cultivars. I do like the spacing of the flowers along the inflorescence as each flower can be viewed without overlapping another at all.


I think I would land somewhere in the HCC range if this plant were presented to me at judging.

Thank you!


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

Grower's Advice

Oncidium harryanum is a great Odontoglossum species (I'm still calling this species Odontoglossum). Dispute to be difficult to grow in our area with very hot summer, this particular clone can produce new growths every year and flowering with one or two inflorescences from each new growth.

We have this plant in our collection for about 8 years (bought from Ecuagenera). This's a second harryanum in our collection (first harryanum I bought in 2003 from Colombian company during Orchid Show in Rockefeller Center, NY. Plant was fine for 10 years then just declined and went to heaven). That plant produced longer spikes with 10 plus flowers per inflorescence, however only one spike each year.

Like all our plants, we keep this Oncidium outside during the summer and inside the house during winter. I start using LED lights this year (from Home Depot) to provide good light for most of our orchids.