Friday, March 6, 2009

FCCs of oncidiinae intergeneric hybrids


I'm preparing a talk to be given to our judging center in a couple of months on why there are no FCC awards on onidiinae intergenerics in the last 10 years. Oncidiinae in general have garnered 2 FCCs on Brassia Rex and one for a Rossioglossum williamsianum. Since I breed oncidiinae intergenerics, and want to have a plant worthy of a FCC in my career, I would like to know what it takes for a plant to achive that status. What do you think it takes? And, why are there so few over the last couple of decades and none in the last decade?


  1. Aloha Glen. I think the issue is not endemic to to the Oncidium Alliance per se. I suspect the issues have to do with:
    1. expectations for consistency and perfection across all the flowers for multiflorals and some ongoing debate over how consistent the flowers need to be and the impact of having one or a few wilted, damaged or irregular flowers.
    2. some taint on our old standards like white Phals and Oncidiums and not being substantially improved or perhaps too commonplace. While the first Paph. armeniacum might seem like it deserves and FCC, it probably did not. Similarly, while a perfectly arranged and spaced white Phal. or broadly branching oncidium might seem too common, it may very well be deserving. It is a question of the judges on the team being willing to transcend their personal biases (the "pot plant thing" for instance) and truly go through the effort of deciding is something is substantially above the rest of its brethren.

    FCCs are tough to get under any circumstance and any negative bias on a given team makes them that much harder.

    That's not to say you should give up. Perhaps attention to details on grooming and printing out relevant reseach might help. Asking for feedback from the team on what was good/bad on a given plant is also helpful. Another thought might be to include a discussion on judging orchids with large numbers of flowers in your talk to encourage discourse re: expectations for consistency when large numbers of flowers are involved.

  2. As a student judge in the room when the first Paph. armeniacum was awarded an FCC, the "wow" factor drove the decision. The judging team discussed the fact that it was the first to be seen and others would probably be better. They knew it was a controversial judging move, but the excitement in the room was special and the award marked the occasion.

    As far as oncidiinae intergenerics, where is the "wow" factor? Too many bred, too many seen, too high expectations? If a well grown plant with multiple spikes with outstanding color (besides the dull browns and brick reds) with exceptional shape and size, then of course a FCC would be granted. But when was the last FCC on a minature phal or miniature cymbidium was given?

    Remember McLellanara Pagan Lovesong?? Would it receive an FCC today?

  3. On a somewhat related note, to intergeneics not FCC's, a student at Florida-Caribbean gave a presentation on Aspasia breeding last month and offered the conclusion that there might not be much value there. I mentioned a nice hybrid that I had the opportunity to photograph on several occasions and I offer photos of Forgetara Everglades Pioneer registered by MiltonCarpenter here -

  4. Hello, my name is Brian Monk. I am a 2nd year student at the West Palm Beach Judging Center, and have the pleasure of Milton Carpenter's mentorship. I believe that intergeneric Oncidiinae have some inherent problems when considering judging. First, the criteria such as flower size, color, flower count, shape/form, etc. often seem to be at odds with each other. For instance, Brazilian Miltonias and their hybrids often have deeply saturated, brilliant color, but may suffer from low flower count or poor presentation. Another example are those plants with a high flower count, that may suffer from small size or poor individual flower form and be marked down despite intense coloration (think Wilsonara Kolibri). Second, these plants often show inconsistencies between flowers that are difficult to overlook. Brassia hybrids often show one or two flowers that are perfect, with several more flowers that have a slightly warped lip.
    There have only been 13 FCCs awarded to Oncidiinae hybrids in the last 20 years, and only 4 to intergeneric hybrids (Alcra Hawaiian Delight 'Gary's Giant Crownpoint', Odrta Ronald Ciesinski '15th Anniversary', Alxa St. Ouen 'Jersey', & Odcdm Mayfair 'R.C.W.'). In the same time, 2273 individual awards went to this group. The one near miss that was significant is Bllra Marfitch 'Howard's Dream.'
    I believe that the goals with the Ondciidinae intergenerics are so difficult to achieve mostly due to genetic barriers during hybridization. It is difficult to combine shape, color, size, and flower count in one plant. I feel that the best hope for an FCC lies in either those hybrids with a significant portion of Odontoglossum, or the complex Degarmoaras or Beallaras. These hybrids show remarkable size, color intensity, and flower count.

  5. Although good comments have been made concerning the "goals with Oncidiinae intergeneric" hybridizing being "so difficult to achieve" due to genetic barriers, I think we can't lose sight of the judging barriers which rely on size as a defining factor to grant a FCC. The suggestion that "the best hope for an FCC lies in either those hybrids with a significant portion of Odontoglossum, or the complex Degarmoaras or Beallaras" presuppose SIZE as a main determining point requirement than is warranted on the score sheet.

    Hence, the same phenomenon when dealing with minature phalaenopsis and minature cymbidium breeding lines. Without researching (that's why we have student judges), how many Phal. lindenii or Cym. pumilum (floribundum) hybrids have reached the FCC level?

    I would argue that Bllra. Marfitch 'Howard's Dream' often has crippled flowers and the segments are often asymmetrical due to genetic "barriers." But appearance is everything and unfortunately, size is everything and judges are swayed by the gaudy instead of the subtle.

  6. Ya know, in light of this discussion I went back to look at some of Tom Perlite's intergenerics and I'm beginning to look at his plants in a whole new light. I mean, what's not to like? I like this page because its got 3 different cameras and 3 differnt photographer's takes on the same flowers. Puts a different spin on award photography, how many times have you wondered if its the color or the camera, LOL!

    Look at his awards. They are most of the 'O's and 'W's

  7. I hit 'send' too soon, sorry.

    My point was that size really isn't the issue. Its the form and color. Primarily the form. For the most part, these are also young plants. Maybe a hobbyist needs to buy them, grow 'em big and really put on a display for good scores on habit and inflorescence.

    eh. What do I know? LOL!

  8. There is a huge difference between oncidium intergenerics and odontoglossum intergenerics. The original discussion is on whether a oncidium-based hybrid can garner a FCC. Certainly a Odm. nobile hybrid has more of a chance for the top quality award than a Onc. hyphaematicum hybrid. Right, Glen??

  9. No he started talking about Oncidiinae, Rossioglossums and Brassias.