Maxillaria picta

Week 91: February 6, 2023

Maxillaria picta

New candidate for this month is Maxillaria picta.

Maxillaria picta, Hook 1832, is accepted species by WCSP Kew (now POWO). The native range of this species is SE. & S. Brazil to Argentina (N. Misiones).

Previous Awards:

There are 23 AOS awards for this species including 2 awards from 1965 - 14 cultural awards (CCM and CCE) and 8 flower quality awards (HCC and AM), also 1 CBM. The latest award granted in Nov 12, 2022.


Candidate has 147 flowers on 147 inflorescences up to 12-cm. Plant is 101-cm wide and 43-cm tall and growing in 24-cm plastic pot in medium bark mix.

Flower Measurements:

NS H - 4.4 cm;                   NS V -3.0 cm;

Dorsal Sep. W - 0.8 cm;    Dorsal Sep. L - 2.5 cm;

Petal W - 0.5 cm;               Petals L - 2.3 cm;

Lat/Sepal W - 0.9 cm;       Lat/Sepal L - 2.5 cm;

Lip/Pouch W - 1.0 cm;     Lip/Pouch L - 1.7 cm.

Judges' Comments

Al Messina (Accredited Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

This beautifully grown plant should easily be awarded a CCE with 147 AM quality flowers and quite clean foliage, superbly presented.

It just requires some minor surgery: Leaf tips so obviously display suboptimal correction of necrosis mitigation! The exhibitor merely needs to be more

artful in the use of his/her scalpel/scissors, in my opinion. Instead of a transverse cut of the leaf tip (not very anatomically correct), perhaps a more triangular cut could have been made to try.

to simulate a lanceolate tip. Or, if the leaf tip is too far gone, cut it at the petiole and remove it. Presentation is very important: Too many leaf tip cuts will dissuade judges from a high award.

Reference: Longwood's Alluring Aroma 12 Nov 22. Approximately 200 flowers on a large plant should qualify for a CCE---But the foliage was cut back, not very artfully, assumedly because of leaf tip necrosis, perhaps other reasons as well, and reduced the score to 83 points. Comparison with US Botanic Garden displays a CCE of 95 points with only 20 more flowers,

but the foliage is pristine.

As presented, I would consider a CCM in the Mid 80's and a flower award in the low 80's.


Pam Noll (Student Judge, Alamo Judging Center)

This plant, Maxillaria picta, was interesting subject with a variety of awards to compare.  The golden flower color and contrasting white on the reverse is attractive, especially the maroon spots showing through the petals and sepals. However, the measurements provided showed no improvement over previous quality awards for this species. A large number of the 147 flowers were clustered on one side of the pot, with a lesser number interspersed throughout the center and remaining perimeter.  While the leaves appeared clean and healthy, several had been trimmed.  For these reasons, I would not nominate this plant for a quality or cultural award.


Pamela Noll


Deb Bodei (Associate Judge, Northeast Judging Center)

Maxillaria picta


The presentation of the flowers overall on this plant is even and balanced and very appealing, with some of the flowers extending higher among the foliage and trailing below the rim of the plastic container.  The plant itself is clean with a few trimmed leaves here and there, but overall grown very well. Even though the last awarded plant received an 83 CCM in a similar size pot with almost 24% more flowers, I think the culture of this plant, the presentation and the condition of the attractive blooms more than make up for the lower flower count.


The flower itself is slightly smaller than some of the latest flower awards and so are it's segments, but a much more attractive flower than the latest awarded with most in very good condition. The flower form is good overall, with the lower sepals held nicely. The flowers give the appearance of 'tiny tigers' with deep golden yellow against a nice clean white on the reverse side of the flower and in the lip. The deep red raspberry markings suffused through to the front of the segments give an appearance of the tiger stripes and the curve of the segments show just enough of white and golden yellow.  Finally, the deep raspberry red column (tiger nose) is a perfect contrast. I find the blooms to be very pleasing and bright.


I would nominate this candidate for a cultural award and expect a low CCM. I would also nominate it for a flower award and expect a low to mid AM.


Thank you,




Andy Braun (Orchid Grower, PA, FL)


Here is my first attempt at comments to your virtual judging.  I’m glad to see you kept it up after in-person resumed.  Here are my thoughts on Max. picta.


My first inclination on this plant was cultural award and so I looked at the previous awards.  The last award to picta was a CCM of 83 points with 200 flowers given in 2022.  Though the flower count at 147 is in the range of previous CCMs and even a CCE I have questions on the condition of the plant. Standing out is the pleating of the leaves. 


As for the flower itself, the color is great, more so on the back of the flower than the front.  The lateral sepals on this flower almost look muddy until you realize that the color is so saturated from the back that what you are seeing is the color bleeding through to the front.  Flowers are fairly uniform in shape, have good balance and proportion.  What the flower lacks in size and inflorescence length, it makes up for in quantity and color.  I might find myself at a low AM, and maybe a low CCM.



Deb Boersma (Associate Judge, Great Lakes Judging Center)

A beautifully grown healthy plant of a species that I don’t often see. I think in terms of the overall form of the flower it is comparable to the clone ‘Golden Claw’, the most recently awarded cultivar with a quality award of an AM of 81 points. The sepals rolled forward at the apices actually offers a nice view of the contrasting color and pattern of the backside of the sepals, so even thought they are not flat as some of the other awarded plants, it really does have a charming presentation. The porrect petals also nicely display the contrasting color and pattern of the reverse side and the flowers appear to be quite symmetrical.

The bright yellow color of the sepals and petals contrast nicely with the white lip and the maroon anther cap. Although the flower is slightly smaller than the AM 81 awarded ‘Golden Claw’ it is much more floriferous. The other recent AM of 81 to ‘Windy Hill’s Lemon Bird’ has a much larger natural spread due to the lateral sepals being much flatter but I actually like the display and the apically rolled sepals better with the contrasting reverse side apparent and it also is not as floriferous as our candidate.

I would be willing to nominate this for a quality awarded and score it at AM 82-83

In terms of a cultural award, this plant looks well grown but is not nearly as floriferous as the latest cultural awards, one with 200 flowers and one with 222 flowers. There were some of the leaves that had been trimmed and the flowers were a little sparse on one side of the plant. For these reasons I would not nominate it for a cultural award.


Jan Takamiya (Associate Judge, Hawaii Judging Center)

Maxillaria picta

Assuming that this cultivar has not been previously awarded.  The sheer size of this 101 cm (39.7 inches) wide Maxillaria picta specimen would translate to a wow factor for me if seen in person! Specimen is very well bloomed but flower arrangement lacks overall symmetry and the few down swept leaves are a bit distracting. The flowers look to be in good condition.  The vegetative growth is bright, clean and robust; beautifully grown! Considering previous awards for potential, I would nominate this for culture and score a CCM of 85.

The flowers are demure and charming; slightly smaller than the AOS average. Form, color and markings appear typical; I would score a high HCC if nominated.

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

Virtual Award Description

Appealing display of one hundred forty seven flowers, easily visible and evenly displayed among the foliage on 147 mostly upright inflorescences extending to 12cm, on a clean plant 101 cm wide by 43 cm tall growing in a 24-cm plastic pot with bark mix; sepals and petals lanceolate, white, evenly marked suffused raspberry-red on reverse, entirely overlaid golden yellow, sepals slightly incurved, petals incurved; lip trilobed, light yellow, overlaid white, lightly striated raspberry-red proximally, margins slightly ruffled, callus white; column deep raspberry-red, anther cap light raspberry-red; substance hard; texture waxy. 

Grower's Advice

We received this plant from Greg Griffis from Longwood Gardens in October 2022. We decided to keep this plant for the Virtual Judging exercise because it been less than one year in our care. We will definetely bring it to the judging next time if plant will bloom with a lot of flowers! 

Like all our plants, we keep this Maxillaria outside during the summer and inside the house during winter. I start using LED lights two year (from Home Depot) to provide good light for most of our orchids. The bigest chalenge is to water large plants like this in the winter. Fortunately, we have a mild winter this year and I water large plants including this Maxillaria outside (if we have 45F and higher temp), and then bring them home within a hour or two!

Comments from Greg Griffis (Longwood Gardens)

Hi Sergey,

I was looking through the comments on this plant and realized something!

This plant does have a cultivar (clonal) name now! It is called ‘Longwood’s Alluring Aroma’. The plant awarded in December is the only other division of it outside of Longwood, which of course, you now have a piece of too. (The one that Al Messina referenced).

I had forgotten that we had put a name on it, so I’m glad I saw this so that I could tell you that!

So your plant is now properly called, Maxillaria picta ‘Longwood’s Alluring Aroma’.

Next time you should take it to judging and not only get the cultural award, but also the flower quality award!

Thank you!

Gregory Griffis

Horticultural Specialty Grower

Longwood Gardens

P.O. Box 501

Kennett Square, PA 19348