Phal. Formosa Blackberry

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This was an award that we granted yesterday up here in the Great Lakes Judging Center. It is the second award to this grex. The first was an 84 point AM granted in 2014. It had 39 flowers and 19 buds on two inflorescences. This one had 22-23 flowers. The color of this one had more deep amethyst markings on a really cute flower. Shape was good as was the arrangement. They were still working on a description when I left and took advantage of an early day.
Formosa Blackberry is Phal. Sogo Vivien x Phal. Happy Mark. Enjoy!😁8FBE9B72-47A0-44EA-B952-FDE65D929646.jpeg
 
Thank you for helping me finally identify this plant! Picked mine up as an unnamed orchid from Trader Joe's in 2019, they had heaps of them. Apparently it has been mass market cloned and widely distributed. The pattern and color intensity can be somewhat variable depending on culture/temps during bud development. Do you know where the newly awarded individual originated from, and if it's a different clone than the first award?
a1IMG_2687.jpga2IMG_2682.jpg
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Cute...

Looks like a mericlone pot plant population to me. Whilst the harlequin patterns on the petals and sepals may vary based on temperatures, the lip color/markings is exactly the same.
 
The original award was granted at the Taiwan International Orchid Show to a clone "Yi-Shen" from the Yi-Shen Biotech company. The awarded clone that I posted came from a local private hobby grower here in Michigan.
This whole conundrum of mericloned plants getting awarded again and again, does occur from time to time. This Yi-Shen clone was much more heavily marked then any of these other examples. But how are we, as judges, supposed to deal with this question?
I see 2 possibilities here. If it comes to the table as Phal. Formosa Blackberry without a clonal name, we are kind of forced to judge it. Yes, we would normally find this previous award from 2014, and we could suspect it is a mericlone and as such and deal with it accordingly. (We could refuse to judge it, but that rarely happens) WE could also decide to elevate the award from 84 points to 86 points say but that really accomplishes nothing but to generate payment of another award fee to the AOS. It could be elevated to an FCC from an AM. That does happen on occasion. But in this case, presented as a plant without a clonal name, can we as judges really prove that? The answer is NO. And to go from 84 points and an AM to 90 points and an FCC, there must be some real large improvement to raise an award by 6 points!!!!
As I stated in my post above, I was not on the team that evaluated this plant. I wonder what the discussion was like?? But without a clonal name on the label, we have to judge it as presented, a different clone apart from Yi-Shen. This is option #2.
I just looked closely at the tag that appears in my other image, and there is no clonal name, just what appears to be a 5 digit number listed after the parentage. The first two digits are hidden by and dead root clinging to the tag. The three digits visible are "871". That means it was ##871.
 
Usually mericlones are tagged with numbers in Holland. Sometimes Taiwan is tagged with pretext of nursery name before a number.

Yes re-awarding mericlones (esp. Phalaenopsis) have happened on numerous occasions … it’s just a matter of the team to decide together after ample research (and experiences) what to do about it.
 
lovely flower.
Why does it matter if the same clone is re-awarded, if 'better'? It’s a bit like saying "oh, you won the 100m gold medal last olympics so you cant compete again". IMHO
Oh yes…. It can for sure be upgraded to a higher quality award if better form, color and size. Or a given a cultural award if better bloomed. BUT the cultivar name in quotes must remain same to indicate it is the ‘same’ plant, division or mericlone.
 
That's a pot plant variety. As well the amount of spots and the color will vary, as it always happens when mass cloning a Phalaenopsis.

This said, I wonder what the judges saw that could make it awardable. Fringed petals, reflexed dorsal...
 
When I looked at the plant in order to snap an image, "fringed petals and reflexed dorsals" were not readily apparent. I still look at the image I posted and do not see those 2 traits to any degree. But if you do, that is fine.

And to answer another question, a clone can be re-awarded. I have seen low level AM's for example come back to the table. Both by the original owner/presenter or by someone else. The award can be upgraded from an 82 point AM to a 90 point FCC. BUT that is very rarely done. to move up 8 points is very hard to accomplish.
I have seen, maybe twice in my 22 year judging career, an 87 or 88 point AM move up to an FCC! But that too is rare, To move 2-3 points up that high on the point scale is a tough ask. 3 points might seem easy but it is not. In my opinion, the other scenario is far more likely. Getting a 78 or 79 point HCC upgraded to an AM. I tried myself once. The comment was made that slightly better arrangement and a few more flowers, would get my little Vandaceous hybrid an AM. Well, the next year the bloom spike was worse so it did not go to judging. The plant then went downhill and died 2 years after being awarded it's 79 point HCC. Opportunity lost.
 
When I looked at the plant in order to snap an image, "fringed petals and reflexed dorsals" were not readily apparent. I still look at the image I posted and do not see those 2 traits to any degree. But if you do, that is fine.

One of my jobs is to select, breed and clone Phalaenopsis varieties for the mass market actually... At 9 millions plants a year on average before, and few hundreds varieties screened and re-evaluated each year, not to mention blooming of batches of clones to check for conformity, that's my credentials regarding Phalaenopsis and their quality...

Here the fringed petals and reflexed dorsals are very, very proeminent... The flower count at 22-23 is as well way too low, it would be quoted as a A2 grade in the Netherlands or Taiwan, roughly 2.8-3.2 eur wholesale in 12cm pot.

This is a pot plant Phalaenopsis, and in no way of award-quality, because of 2 fatal flaws:

- Fringed petals, fatal flaw

reflex dorsal.jpeg


- Reflexed dorsals, fatal flaw


bad dorsal.jpeg

Phalaenopsis breeding today has a very high standard, and there must not be any windows between the dorsal and the petals, including in the medium-lip ( big lip crossbreeding) styles like this one. The doral cannot go backwards and cupped like on the pictures...

Teethy edges is not accepted as well anymore...

And after all it is a mass propagated Phalaenopsis in gigantic quantities
 
My respectful response would be that A2 quality in the Netherlands or Taiwan does not mean anything when we see a plant on the table before us as a judging team.
If it grades poorly for you within your system, that’s fine.
That is as it should be. If you see thousands of Phalaenopsis in your career, your standards are likely to be very different then the average AOS judge. That is certainly true. The two systems will never agree, and that is as it should be too.
 
My respectful response would be that A2 quality in the Netherlands or Taiwan does not mean anything when we see a plant on the table before us as a judging team.
If it grades poorly for you within your system, that’s fine.
That is as it should be. If you see thousands of Phalaenopsis in your career, your standards are likely to be very different then the average AOS judge. That is certainly true. The two systems will never agree, and that is as it should be too.

That's actually the problem ! In theory the AOS should be over the Trader's Joe quality standard, at least that's how it used to work in the past. So it is not as it should be, quite the opposite.

There are 'true' mass propagated FCC/AOS that exist, Phal.Join Glory 'Cl-361B Beta' is one of them, no discussion... It is an amazing flower by itself, I grow it since before it was awarded actually...

I have seen indeed quite a few awards that made me wonder how was the judge's experience with orchids, or if some ever had seen any orchids after all... Some had to be rescinded or disappeared from the awards database because of the international laugh they made.

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum 'Max & Best' FCC | AOS (91 points) March 2020

Was a great one, flower count, shape, color, stance, size, all was kind of wrong with it... Maybe the point scoring reached 91, but when someone knowledgeable looks at the flower, the only idea is where is the dumpster or how the hell can I sell it and get back 100us on it...

That's why the AOS awards have to target a certain excellence, and not award something below average, especially more below mass produced Costco and the like average... If Trader's Joe has a plant with 40 flowers as an example, it is not possible to give an AM to the same variety that has 20-25 flowers...

It is absolutely the same variety for sure. There are no seedlings released of this kind of varieties, ony individual clones are sold by Taiwan with a few exceptions of seedlings crosses for the hobby market by 1-2 smaller nurseries. But that one, is a pot plant variety, so there has been at least 50k if not more plants produced of it, certain...

There is the point score, that looks great, but it used to be more an overall instant judgement, including experience, that it is worth an AM, FCC, or HCC, according, not only to the AOS database, but to the experience. Then the points were computed to see if it was not too off tracks. But dumb point scoring a plant to calculate a HCC AM or FCC is not really worth at all. All the top knowledgeeable AOS judges from the past I know were able to know what was the value of the plant by looking at it, and they were really difficult, 20 years ago.

An AOS award must be superior to a Trader's Joe or PlantDiscount middle range plant, there is no discussion possible about that. Otherwise AOS awards have no purpose and no point to exist...
 
We will never agree.
Your standards are your standards. My standards will never meet yours.
And that is as it should be.

Indeed, but then it should not involve judging or awarding orchid plants for the AOS....
 

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