Ancistrochilus rothschildianus

Week 80: March 14, 2022

Ancistrochilus rothschildianus

New candidate for this week is Ancistrochilus rothschildianus.

Ancistrochilus rothschildianus O'Brien, 1907 is accepted species by WCSP, Kew. This species is native to the African tropics. The range of this orchid include the western part of equatorial Africa and extends from Sierra Leone to southern Nigeria. It is a rare epiphytic orchid of rainforest, usually growing in moderate heights near the coast. It is a small to medium sized epiphyte, which reaching 15-35 cm in height, with clustered, conical or pyriform, up to 5 cm in diameter pseudobulbs with 2 10-40 cm long leaves.

Previous Awards:

There are 10 AOS awards for Ancistrochilus rothschildianus, including 7 cultural and 2 flower awards. The latest award received clone 'Bryon' CCM 86 pts in January 2019.


Ancistrochilus rothschildianus has 28 flowers and 15 buds on 11 inflorescences. Plant has 15 leafless pseudobulbs plus two with leaves and growing in a sphagnum moss in 18 cm terracotta pot.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 8.1 cm; NS V - 7.0 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 2.0 cm; Dorsal Sep. L - 4.1 cm;

Petal W - 1.0 cm; Petals L - 3.4 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 1.4 cm; Lat/Sepal L - 3.7 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 1.5 cm; Lip/Pouch L - 3.0 cm.

Judges' Comments

Kristen Mason (Accredited Judge, Cincinnati Judging Center)

Beautifully grown and displayed example of this lovely species. Good size and width to segments. Good saturation of color. I would pass on a quality award on this flowering because of the shape of petals, inconsistency in petals and damage to some of the flowers. Although nicely grown, I do not feel that it is at the level of a cultural award on this flowering.

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Twenty eight flowers and 15 buds on 11 arched inflorescences present a nice display. Since its first AOS recognition in 1968 there have been essentially 3 CCE awards, 4 CCMs and 2 AMs to this species. The AMs were only to plants with low flower numbers -- 'Clara' with 8 flowers and 2 buds on 4 inflorescences; 'Bryon' with 3 flowers and 5 buds on 2 inflorescences. Photos of these are quite good and I agree with the awards.

Strange, however, that no plant with high cultural awards (including 'Bryon', which is the only plant with both flower and culture awards) has received flower awards --- even 'Bryon' did not receive a flower award after it put on significant growth from 2014 to 2019. If one reviews the awards, one can see slight, but definite, inconsistencies in flower form which likely dissuaded previous judges from granting flower awards, even though the floriferousness was indisputable. One can therefore conclude that if a grower would like a flower award for this plant, he/she should consider presenting it for judging at an early date. So, counterintuitively, more flowers on this species appear to be an impediment to a flower award, as in this case. But do not abandon all hope: This species appears well grown and should put on considerable growth and qualify for culture, and perhaps, flower awards in the not so distant future, as demonstrated by not only 'Bryon' but also 'Tilou', which in one growing season went from 30 flowers and buds on 14 inflorescences in 2012 to 70 flowers and buds---- and a CCE in 2013.

Deb Boersma (Student Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

A very pretty flower with good form and symmetry, it has a little inward curling on the petal edges but has a flatter form than the two awarded plants. Nice erect side lobes, lip has nice contrasting dark lavender stripes. The lavender color seems to be somewhat faded; it is difficult to see from the photo whether it is due to the photo being taken in direct sun and the flower color is actually more vibrant and saturated than the photo shows. Overall I think that it is a charming flower, more floriferous with 28 flowers on 11 inflorescences (2.5 flowers per inflorescence). Flowers looked well arranged on the inflorescence, not too crowded and well spaced. The natural spread is slightly smaller than the average of the two AM awarded plants.

I think that I would nominate this for scoring and would give it a HCC 77-78, I would point higher if I knew the color was more saturated, this is a problem with judging only with a photo. Kudos to the grower, it is a beautiful plant.

Tom Mirenda (Accredited Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

A fine, well-grown example of this under cultivated Central African species

Very nicely arranged, longer than average inflorescences with good flower count.

Flowers are typical in terms of form and coloration and perhaps slightly larger than average

Even so, I don’t think the flower is exceptional compared to others that have been exhibited

If scored, would probably get a mid to high HCC 77 -78points

I do think this specimen is worthy of a cultural award….I have seen some very large plants of this species in northern California

Probably double the size of this one….but it is still a very well grown and bloomed plant.

But not (yet) a CCE…..This plant should score about 85 to 86 points for its excellent size and culture

Tom Mirenda

Deb Bodei (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Ancistrochilus rothschildianus


Beautiful and graceful blooms. Comparing our candidate to other cultural awards given, I am not convinced this plant is ready for a cultural award on this flowering, but assessing for possible flower award for the purpose of this exercise. Seeing it in person would be a must here for culture, since some of the plant itself is not visible.

The flowers appear to be in pristine condition and likely receiving the proper humidity level. These flowers are presenting themselves very similarly to the awarded 'Clara' which received an AM in 2012 (both form and color) and even appear to have fuller segments even though they are similar in size to average of awarded. I am suspecting culture has contributed to the good condition of these blooms and the plant has the advantage of not being disturbed since it seems to have been photographed in situ. It is likely this plant is doing what is expected of it.

The number of blooms per inflorescence along with the arrangement are also good.


I would be inclined to recommend for a flower award based on the photos. This is one of those cases where I would really like to see the plant in person though. I don't normally resort to saying that, but here it applies for me.



David Edgley (Accredited Judge, Western Canada Judging Center)

Here’s my quick analysis of Ancistrochilus rothschildianus. This plant appears to be a well-grown and flowered, lovely specimen of Ancistrochilus rothschildianus. The flowers are well-proportioned and in very good condition. The one thing that keeps me from recommending a quality award is lack of flatness of the petals. Based on the award record, I could score this lovely plant in the low 80s for a CCM.

Joseph Maciaszek (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Ancistrochilus rothschildianus is a deciduous species with beautiful looking starry flowers. The candidate plant flowers for the most part have smaller measurements than the 2 AM flower awards. While photos don’t capture the true three dimensional characteristics of a flower the candidate does somehow feel a fuller flower than the two AMs.

The candidate is more floriferous than many of the other cultural awards, having an average of almost 4 flowers per inflorescence. The closest plant in size (based on what is available in the descriptions) is the clone ‘Tilou’ 82/CCM from 2012 which had 14 pseudobulbs and the candidate has 15 leafless and 2 leaf pseudobulbs. Tilou’ had 28 and 2 on 14 inflorescences while candidate has 28 and 15 on 11.

With all of that said I would definitely nominate this a cultural and scored an 84. When thinking about flower quality award I would definitely want to see the plant in person. I could point these flowers they presented as full as they seem to do in the pictures. I believe the score I would give it is 79 or it might reach 80.

Elena Skoropad (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Beautiful African species!

I especially like lavender pink color of petals and sepals and the contrast with hot pink trilobed lip.

There are 11 AOS awards for these species including 2 AMs, 6 CCM, 2 CCE, CBM, CBR and BM. Our candidate has lightly smaller flowers than awarded AMs. I would be inclined to nominate it for flower quality award taking into consideration pleasant form of relatively flat flowers and outstanding color. As far as culture award the candidate is in the low CCM range with 28 flowers and 15 buds on 11 arched semi-pendent inflorescences. The substance appears to be good, but it is difficult to say without seeing this plant in person.

This very clean and beautifully grown plant should be recognized for the culture and I would score it 82 pts CCM.

Thank you,


Phyllis Prestia (Accredited Judge, Pacific South Judging Center)

This is a lovely plant with a beautiful flower. It poses a conundrum for judging. The two latest AM’s “Byron’ and ‘Clara’ have slightly larger flowers and and few of them. When comparing the two awards for Byron, the CCM has more flowers which are slightly smaller than when it had only 3. Size is important, but I keep reminding myself that it isn’t everything.

The shape of this flower is very good not only in size but in proportion also. I think it would be of value to add another plant to the awards for further comparison. I would nominate it. I guess it might receive a very high HCC or a low AM. Personally, I would give it an 80.


Exhibitor - Longwood Gardens, PA (orchid grower - Greg Griffis)

Virtual Award Description

Twenty-eight flowers and fifteen buds well-presented on 11 arched inflorescences borne on deciduous plant 46 cm wide by 15 cm in height, grown in 18-cm terracotta pot in sphagnum moss; sepals and petals lavender veined darker, light olive green basally; lip trilobed, midlobe dark fuchsia, white at apex, five stripes basal one half; side lobes olive green, darker on outer surfaces; column olive green, anther cup cream; substance firm; texture crystalline, lip velvety

Grower's Advice

This plant is grown in intermediate temperatures and kept evenly moist during the growing season. As its leaves die off in the fall, water is reduced until the medium is kept just barely moist or slightly dry through most of the winter. It is misted occasionally so the moss does not dry out completely. In the spring, watering is increased gradually to encourage vigorous root growth. It is grown in a clay bulb pan in sphagnum moss.

When I first started growing it at Longwood, it was very small, so for the first three years, I kept it evenly moist all year long and kept it from a pronounced dry winter season. It didn’t flower (much) for those years, but put on weight quickly.

It is a great species and very easy to grow!