The Handbook on Judging and Exhibition is the "bible" of AOS orchid judging. All standards and procedures for evaluating and awarding orchids are described in detail. The handbook is in continual revision.
The American Orchid Society Judging Handbook
The December 2012 Edition of the Handbook contains new information in the following areas:
The listing of Judging Centers recognizes the permanent independent status of the Puerto Rico Judging Center.
Species identification in Section 184.108.40.206 was amended to insert the Species Identification Task Force (SITF) as the primary avenue for the identification of provisionally awarded species. Plants previously identified by a taxonomist may be accepted for judging with documentation of identification. Otherwise, all species not having previously received AOS awards must receive provisional awards and be submitted to the SITF for identification.
Sections 6.2.9 and 6.2.10 dealing with plants provisionally awarded Certificates of Botanical Recognition (CBR) or Certificates of Horticultural Merit (CHM), were amended to insert the SITF as the AOS primary source for identification as outlined in Section 220.127.116.11.
In light of the conversion of AOS award photographs to digital images, Section 3.2.1 was amended to delineate the center chairs’ responsibility to upload images and submit all awards data within 60 days of judging events.
The duration of plant care prior to the awarding of Certificates of Cultural Excellence (CCE) and Certificates of Cultural Merit (CCM) was increased from 6 to 12 months, the rationale being that plants grown for less than one year still reflect the care of the previous grower.
Since the Handbook is a work in progress, it is imperative that the most current version of the Handbook be consulted in all AOS Judging Activities. The current version of the Handbook is published in AQ Plus and on the AOS Web site. Handbook changes approved by the Trustees at the fall 2012 meeting take effect with this edition.
- Harry A Gallis, MD
Chair, Judging Committee, December 2012
- Handbook Task Force
- Glenn Brown, chair
- Susan Wedegaertner
- Bill Zimmerman
The American Orchid Society Judging System, as implemented by this Handbook, is designed to provide a process to its members, affiliated societies and orchid growers everywhere by which their orchids can be evaluated and judged for American Orchid Society awards. The AOS judges provide this service at AOS sanctioned shows, the various AOS judging centers regularly scheduled judging sessions and other AOS sanctioned events. This process is designed to recognize quality orchid plants, exceptional cultivation, significant advancements in breeding and artistic design. All orchid growers are encouraged to take advantage of this service.
This thirteenth edition of the Handbook on Orchid Judging and Exhibition arrives following the 87th anniversary of the AOS, which was founded in 1921. Judging and recognizing exceptional orchid plants and growers' skills began early in AOS history, at the first AOS National Orchid Show in 1924 with gold and silver medals. Permanent, recorded awards that would follow an outstanding plant's name were created in 1932, the AOS' eleventh year.
Each quarterly meeting, the president selected people with suitable background and experience to act informally as judges, casting votes in the manner of the Orchid Committee of the Royal Horticultural Society.
With growing membership and the affiliation of more regional societies, the demand for exhibition and evaluation spurred the AOS to expand the scope of judging, formalize the development of a permanent community of judges and standardize its rules. To codify and distribute these rules, as well as material on staging shows and orchid nomenclature, the first edition of the Handbook was published in 1949. That year also saw the establishment of monthly exhibitions in the facilities of the Horticultural Society of New York, through its cooperation with the newly created AOS Committee on Arrangements, soon called the Committee on Awards (renamed the Judging Committee in 1996). Orchids could then be brought from anywhere and be judged for AOS awards.
The First World Orchid Conference, held in Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1954, brought together delegates from several orchid societies, many with existing judging programs, to establish a standard system of point scales. This concordance created a capacity to serve the orchid community with regular, monthly AOS judging somewhere in the United States each week. Joining New York as regional judging centers were Los Angeles, Miami, Oakland, and, in 1959, Honolulu so that, in the age of air express, COA Chair Helen H. Adams could report, "theoretically, no flower need blush unjudged."
As the AOS and its judging sphere grew, the JC was charged with the responsibility to manage and develop a stable, yet flexible, system to ensure effective service to its constituents and allow change when appropriate. The concept of judging regions arose, each region's committee comprising its roster of certified judges. Regions were to conduct regular monthly judging at specified sites and at shows of the AOS Affiliated Societies within specified boundaries, and train and present to the JC qualified candidates for appointment as judges. The elected regional chairs came to be members of the JC, presenting the regions' proposals and voting in congress with members appointed by the trustees, to whom recommendations were sent for resolution.
To further consolidate varied viewpoints, the chair of the JC and membership of the working committee was to be rotated among the regions. New perspectives, in concert with established practice, could be applied to standards, techniques and procedures as the system evolved. And it has evolved. Through considered management by the regions, the JC and the trustees, balancing strong opinion with care for the need for equity and common sense, the AOS judging system has grown tremendously. From the 1960s to the present, new centers opened, regions divided, regional boundaries were adjusted and international jurisdictions were established, all to facilitate effective administration and extend more judging capabilities to the Affiliated Societies and exhibitors. Fifteen regions emerged and 12 supplemental judging centers augmented some regions. Five were conveyed in the merger of the Orchid Digest Corporation and AOS judging systems in 1968.
A further step was taken in 1996 to allow even more flexibility in judging services: a restructuring of the regional concept into a community of judging centers without sharply defined boundaries, all with a representative on the JC. Existing associations of Affiliated Societies and judging centers would remain as constituted unless a group specifically applied for a change. A newly affiliating society could select a center it would support and be served by. Many of the supplemental judging centers became independent centers separate from their former regional committees. Others geographically close to their parent center were acknowledged as integral to providing an additional judging session each month and maintaining one cohesive committee of judges to serve both centers.
It was intended that, with greater emphasis on the development of the judging center committees' relationships with their Affiliated Societies, the AOS judging program could provide greater service. Through 76 years of formal AOS judging, 24 judging committees have come to operate 35 judging centers. In improving proximity and higher frequency of judging to orchidists who wish to have their plants judged or join the judging community, Mrs. Adams's perception of the desired direction of AOS judging has indeed blossomed.
1.3 Judging Centers (locations and dates established):
- *denotes former Orchid Digest Judging Centers
- Alamo Judging Center (San Antonio, TX -1968 -[Austin, TX -1962])
- Atlanta Judging Center (Atlanta, GA -1973)
- California-Sierra Nevada Judging Center (Sacramento CA -2005)
- Carolinas Judging Center (Raleigh, NC -1998)
- Chicago Judging Center (Chicago, IL -1990)
- Cincinnati Judging Center (Cincinnati, OH -1993)
- Dallas Judging Center (Dallas, TX -1968-70*, 1988)
- Florida-Caribbean Judging Center (Miami, FL -1955)
- Florida North-Central Judging Centers (Tampa, FL -1966)
- Orlando, FL -2003
- Great Lakes Judging Center (Ann Arbor, MI -1972)
- Great Plains Judging Center (Oklahoma City, OK -1980)
- Hawaii Judging Centers
- Hawaii Judging Center (Honolulu, HI -1959)
- Big Island Additional Judging Site (Hilo, HI* -1968)
- Hawaii Additional Judging Site-Maui (Lahaina, HI* -1968)
- Houston Judging Center (Houston, TX -1991)
- Mid-America Judging Center (St. Louis, MO -1961)
- Mid-Atlantic Judging Center (Philadelphia, PA -1984)
- National Capital Judging Center (Washington, DC -1976)
- Northeast Judging Centers:
- Boylston, MA -1996
- Stamford, CT - 2012 (Elmsford, NY-1998-2012 [White Plains, NY-1993-98, New York City, NY -1949-62, 1971-93])
1.4 Handbook on Judging and Exhibition
The Handbook on Judging and Exhibition, hereinafter referred to as the Handbook, is the official policy statement of the AOS regarding the operation of its judging system and is published on the AOS website and in AQ Plus. Changes to the Handbook, as adopted from time to time by the JC with the approval of the Board of Trustees, are published on the AOS Web site and in AQ Plus. These changes become effective once published. Observance of the rules stated herein is mandatory upon AOS judges as well as show officials and individual exhibitors. Failure to observe the rules may result in disqualification of judges from service, of shows from the privilege of offering AOS judging, or of exhibitors from eligibility to receive AOS awards. All judges are required to own a copy of the current edition of the Handbook as published.
1.5 AQ Plus
AQ Plus is the official record of AOS awards. It includes the name of the awarded plant, the circumstances in which the award was granted, a description of the plant in flower, and in most cases, an image of the awarded flower or plant. It serves as a primary source of reference to judges in evaluating plants and flowers. All judges are required to subscribe to AQ Plus.
The JC is composed of a chair and three to five additional members appointed annually by the Board of Trustees at their first meeting following each election. The term of the chair is limited to four years. One or more of the members may be designated as JC vice-chair. In addition, the chair of each main judging center shall, by virtue of their office, be participatory voting members of the JC. If the judging center's chair is unable to attend, the vice-chair shall serve as the center's voting alternate. If both the chair and vice-chair are unable to attend, an accredited judge of the center, appointed by the chair to represent the wishes of the center, shall serve as the center's voting alternate.
Meetings of the JC shall be held regularly in connection with the meetings of the Board of Trustees. Special meetings may be called at the discretion of the chair. A majority of the members of the JC shall constitute a quorum. Decisions shall be made by a majority vote of all members present and voting.
2.3 Duties and Responsibilities
The JC shall:
- Supervise the AOS judging system under the direction of the Board of Trustees of the AOS.
- Establish uniform standards for the acceptance and training of judges.
- Receive from the judging centers all nominations for new candidates for judge, notification of new students accepted into the judging centers' training programs and changes in the status of current judges, and after review of the centers' recommendations, make its independent recommendations to the Board of Trustees. Additionally, and with the approval of the Board of Trustees, the JC may initiate any action it deems necessary for the proper and ethical administration of the judging system, including suspension or termination of a judge, as described in paragraph 4.9.4.
- Along with the Awards Registrar of the AOS, be responsible for (5) Through its chair, be responsible for the day-to-day interpretation of judging rules.
- Through its chair, be responsible for the day-to-day interpretation of judging rules, the enforcement of the Handbook on Judging and Exhibition and the maintenance of any records necessary for efficient monitoring of the judging system.
- Have the right to rescind any award which either through error or lack of knowledge was granted in violation of the rules.
- Make recommendations to the Board of Trustees with regard to the future development of the AOS judging system.
- Be responsible, under the direction of the Board of Trustees, for biannual revision of that part of the Handbook which is devoted to judging. The Handbook Task Force shall have the authority to correct typographical, editorial, spelling or other administrative errors, without presenting them to the Trustees for approval, provided that this in no way will change the meaning, intent or substance of the Handbook.
2.4 Duties and Responsibilities of Chair
The chair shall:
- Preside at all meetings of the JC. In the chair's absence the vice-chair shall preside. If both are absent, a temporary chair shall be elected by the members present.
- At each biannual meeting, report to the Board of Trustees on JC activities and recommendations.
- Make a report at each annual meeting of members of the AOS.
- Arrange for minutes of meetings to be sent to all JC members. The minutes shall contain a full and complete record of the meeting so members shall be able to participate in the work and decisions of the JC.
- Preside at any duly called general meeting of AOS judges.
- Appoint a national training coordinator. (See paragraph 4.7.1)
2.5 Judging Policy Task Force
A subcommittee of the JC known as the judging policy task force (JPTF) shall be appointed by the chair to act as an executive task force between sessions of the JC. The chair shall head this task force. The judging policy task force shall help prepare the agenda for JC meetings, make recommendations to the JC, and make policy decisions which require immediate action. No formal action may be taken on matters pertaining to the status of judges. Decisions shall be made by a majority of the judging policy
2.6 Judging Ethics Task Force
- A Judging Ethics Task Force (JETF) shall be appointed by the JC chair.
- The JETF shall recommend Handbook additions or changes on any issue involving judges' ethics and submit them in its reports to the JC.
- The judging system encompasses 24 judging centers, and 13 additional sites, located in the United States and Canada.
- Each center, including any additional sites, is under the jurisdiction of a center committee comprising its active certified judges. Each center committee is a subcommittee of the JC and each main center chair is a member of the JC. Each center shall have a chair, a first vice-chair, two vicechairs for each additional site, a secretary, a treasurer, a training coordinator, a clerk, (the secretary may serve as clerk), and one or more photographers. The chair, all vice-chairs and the training coordinator must be accredited judges. The photographers need not be members of the AOS.
- Centers in close geographic proximity may, by application to the JC, merge into a single center with multiple monthly judging dates in additional sites by a vote of two-thirds of the judges serving each of the merging centers.
- Center chairs and vice-chairs are elected for terms beginning January 1, following the trustees' meeting at which they are confirmed. Chairs and vice chairs completing the term of a chair or vice chair that is being replaced, officially take office when confirmed by the trustees.
3.2 Duties of Officers
The chair, elected by the center committee and confirmed by the trustees, shall have the overall responsibility and authority for all AOS judging activities of the center. Where judging centers have multiple sites, the chair may for reasons of convenience, operate from a preferred site and serve as presiding chair of judging at that site.
The chair shall:
- Serve as a member of the JC and participate actively in JC matters as required. Enforcement of the Handbook should be a shared responsibility of the center chairs and the JC.
- Comment promptly to questionnaires or minutes of meetings from the JC.
- Send a copy of minutes of judging center committee business meetings to the chair of the JC with all recommendations for personnel action made by the center's committee, including the full names and addresses of the persons involved, at least 60 days prior to the next annual or semiannual meeting of the Board of Trustees.
- Notify the chair of the JC of the recommendations of the center committee for awarding all trophies listed in paragraph 6.2.11 at least 60 days prior to the fall meeting of the Board of Trustees.
- Call and preside over business meetings of the center committee.
- Notify the vice-chair of the chair's proposed absence from a meeting.
- Arrange for conducting and presiding at the center's monthly judging sessions.
- Approve, at least four months in advance, dates for an affiliate's show for which AOS judging is requested. When an affiliate requests approval with less than 4 months advance notice, the center chair can grant approval if the show papers are in order and the required fees have been paid.
- Be responsible for certifying the accuracy of summary sheets and uploading the proper images and completing the data entry to the AOS no later than 60 days from the date of judging.
- Be responsible for the photography of awarded plants and approval of photography charges before being forwarded to the AOS.
- Be responsible for AOS slides. Official AOS slides shall be properly stored, used and accounted for at each judging center. When the slides are no longer needed or required by a center, the collection may be destroyed by the center. In order to do so, the center chair must send a notice to the awards registrar, with a copy to the JC chair, explaining why the center wishes to destroy the slides as well as how and when they will be destroyed. Under no circumstances shall a center sell, barter, donate or otherwise disperse any AOS award slide.
- Appoint a secretary for the center committee.
- Appoint a treasurer for the center committee.
- Appoint, at his/her discretion, any committees necessary to aid in the administration of the center and the rules and responsibilities outlined in the Handbook.
- Be responsible for annually verifying that all judges and students of the center have renewed their AOS membership and AQ Plus subscription. The chair of the JC shall be informed of those judges and students who have not done so.
- Appoint a Training Coordinator.
- Notify the chair of the JC of the recommendations of the center committee for their chair and vice-chair at least 60 days prior to the fall meeting of the Board of Trustees. If changes occur at other times, the chair of the JC should be so notified.
- Send a copy of the judging center award totals, including shows in the center's jurisdiction, for preceding year in the appropriate format to the chair of the JC at least 60 days prior to the spring meeting of the Board of Trustees
- Send a copy of the center's current judge's roster to the chair of the JC at least 60 days prior to each biannual meeting of the Board of Trustees. This should be in text format and include the judge's name, status, address, phone number and e-mail address.
- Notify the chair of the JC at least 60 days prior to the spring meeting of the Board of Trustees, of at least one sponsoring Affiliated Society of your center. This should include the name, address, phone number and e-mail address of the president of that society. Centers with multiple locations must provide this information for each site.
18.104.22.168 Removal of the Center Chair
In the event a center chair does not comply with the requirements of this Handbook and specifically paragraph 3.2.1, the Chair of the Judging Committee shall place an item on the agenda for the next scheduled Judging Committee meeting to review the performance of the center chair. The chair in question will be invited to present his/her case or mitigating circumstances to the Judging Committee. After review, should, the majority of the Judging Committee members, via secret ballot, determine that the center chair in question is in non-compliance then a recommendation to the Trustees shall be made to remove the center chair.
3.2.2 First Vice-Chair
The first vice-chair, elected by the center committee and confirmed by the trustees, shall assume the duties of the chair in the chair's absence and shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by the chair. The first vice-chair shall represent the center at meetings of the JC in the event the center chair cannot attend.
22.214.171.124 Temporary Chair
In the absence of both the chair and first vice-chair, an accredited judge shall be elected as temporary chair by the certified judges present.
In centers having additional judging sites, vice-chairs shall be elected by the center committee and designated as chairs and vice-chairs of judging for those sites other than that for which the judging center chair assumes responsibility. They shall be confirmed by the Trustees and shall be responsible for the operation of their designated sites and such other activities as may be assigned to those sites by their center committees.
The secretary, appointed by the chair, shall keep minutes of all business meetings and shall send copies to all judges serving the center. Such minutes shall record all votes and recommendations. The secretary shall send notices of meetings and undertake such correspondence as the chair may require. This position may be combined with that of treasurer.
The treasurer, appointed by the chair, shall keep records of all receipts and disbursements of funds of the center. This position may be combined with that of secretary.
3.2.6 Training Coordinator
The training coordinator, an accredited judge appointed by the chair, shall be responsible for coordinating training activities for all judges within a center in accordance with paragraph 4.7.2, Judges Training. Training activities should be in accordance with, but not limited to, directives of the national training coordinator. The training coordinator shall encourage active participation of all judges serving the center. Additional training coordinators may be appointed for additional judging sites.
The clerk, appointed by the chair, shall record all plant material entered for judging and shall have charge of the judging materials. The clerk may be responsible for the maintenance of the slide files. An assistant clerk or librarian may be appointed for this purpose also.
The photographer, appointed by the chair, shall take pictures of awarded flowers and plants as specified in the requirements in paragraph 5.5.3(5)
A librarian may be appointed by the chair to keep the center's reference books, to order others as authorized and to have them available at all monthly judging sessions. The required reference books are listed in paragraph 5.2 (1), (2) and (3). The librarian may also serve as the slide librarian at the discretion of the chair.
Regular monthly meetings shall be scheduled for the judging of orchid plants and flowers. The dates of these meetings are published on the AOS web-site. Once published, they may not be changed without the approval of the JC. The agenda at these meetings may also include discussion of judging procedures and problems, review of minutes of meetings of the JC, viewing images of recent awards from other centers and such other educational activities as the judging center committee may determine. No formal action may be taken, however, on matters pertaining to the status of judges, recommendations to JC, or other substantive matters, which are reserved for duly called business meetings.
3.3.1 Business Meetings
The judging center committee shall hold an annual business meeting sufficiently in advance of the fall meeting of the Board of Trustees to permit the minutes to reach the chair of JC at least 60 days prior to the meeting. At this business meeting, the judging center committee shall elect officers for the ensuing calendar year (subject to confirmation by the Board of Trustees); review and record in the minutes the individual attendance records of each judge at judging sessions, shows, business meetings and training activities during the preceding year; consider new candidates for judge and other personnel matters; and conduct such other business as may properly come before the meeting. Any judge who has not attended the minimum number of judgings during the preceding calendar year shall be denied voting privileges on any matter at the center business meeting(s) for the current calendar year.
A chair may not exclude a fully accredited judge from attending the personnel section of a center's business meeting, but a visiting judge may not join into the discussion unless invited to do so by the chair.
At least one other business meeting shall be held each year early enough to permit the minutes of the meeting to reach the chair of JC at least 60 days prior to the spring meeting of the Board of Trustees. The agenda may include any item appropriate to the annual meeting except that attendance records of judges need not be reviewed or officers elected except to fill vacancies. If the center has additional judging sites, one of the business meetings should be held at one of those locations. Additional business meetings may be called at the discretion of the judging center chair.
126.96.36.199 Notice of Meeting and Requirements for Quorum and Passing of Motions
Written notice or an email notice of a business meeting shall be sent to all members of the judging center committee at least 10 days prior to the meeting.
A quorum for general business, including the election of the committee chairman and vice-chairmen, consists of more than 50 percent of the certified judges of the center who have voting rights. Passage of motions for general business requires a simple majority vote.
quorum for personnel business consists of more than 50 percent of the accredited judges of the center who have voting rights. The appointment or termination of student judges requires a simple majority vote. The approval of all other personnel matters involving a change in judges’ status requires a two-thirds majority vote. Furthermore, the vote in this latter case must represent a simple majority of all of the accredited judges with voting rights at the center, whether or not they are in attendance.
Judges without voting rights shall not be counted in determining quorums or in calculating the results of votes. Judges without voting rights include senior judges (except as noted in 4.2.4), emeritus judges (except those who have fulfilled all attendance requirements for certified judges, as noted in 4.2.5), judges on a leave-of-absence, judges who have returned from a leave-of-absence for less than one year, judges under suspension, judges who have not fulfilled all attendance requirements during the previous calendar year and judges transferred between centers (for one year from the date of transfer, date approved by trustees).
Abstentions and ballots invalidly cast shall not be counted either for or against a motion, or for determining the total number of votes cast.
188.8.131.52 Voting Procedures
Voting on the election of the center chairman and vice chairmen shall be by secret ballot except that when a single candidate for an office is nominated, a motion to elect by acclamation is acceptable. Voting on all other matters affecting the status of judges shall be by secret ballot. Judges with a conflict of interest must abstain from the discussion and from voting on the matter involving their conflict of interest. Senior judges, emeritus judges and judges on leave may participate in all discussions, but shall abstain on those issues on which they have a conflict of interest. However, the chairman or a majority of the voting assembly may call upon any judge to give their comments on any issue. The numbers of abstentions and invalidly marked ballots shall be announced when the results of the vote are reported. No absentee or proxy voting shall be allowed.
Written minutes shall be prepared to record actions taken at all business meetings. The number of affirmative and negative votes taken on personnel matters shall be noted; copies of minutes bearing these figures shall be shared only with the non-probationary certified judge center committee members and the JC chair. A copy of the minutes shall be forwarded to the chair of the JC by the judging center chair no less than 60 days prior to the Trustees Meeting so that personnel recommendations and other items of business may be included on the agenda for the next meeting of the JC.
3.4 Qualifications and Terms of Office
Only accredited judges are eligible for election as chair, first vice-chair and vice-chairs. When they have served effectively, additional terms of service are desirable; however, the judging center chair may not serve more than five years without waiting a minimum of two years before being eligible for re-election. Other officers are eligible for service without limit on the number of terms served.
(Rationale for change: This proposed change is to delete the number of times a person can be center chair and reduce the time limit before a person can return to being center chair. Some Centers, in the near future, will have problems finding an accredited judge to take on the responsibility. While the Vice-Chair can do the work for the Center Chair, if the person is doing the work they should receive the credit of being in that office.)
3.5 Establishment of New Judging Centers
A new judging center shall be established only when the following conditions are met:
- There must be convincing evidence that the establishment of a new judging center will improve service to the orchid growers in the area.
- There must be a sufficient number of certified judges willing to serve the proposed center to ensure the proper conduct of judging activities.
- The establishment of a new center shall not have any serious adverse effect upon existing centers.
- There shall be sufficient plant material of potential award quality and a sufficient number of exhibitors to warrant providing AOS judging.
- The Affiliated Societies in the area to be served must be willing to provide financial and administrative support for the operation of the proposed center.
3.5.1 Procedures for Establishment
Application for the establishment of a new judging center shall follow these procedures:
- A sponsoring group, including one or more Affiliated Societies, shall make application in writing to the chair of the JC, with copies to the chairs of any judging centers which might be affected by the change.
- The application shall be accompanied by the following documentation:
- A letter typed on the letterhead of the sponsoring society, signed by the chief executive officer, indicating that the request for the new center has been approved by a vote of the membership.
- Letters of approval and promised support from the judges willing to serve the proposed center.
- Details on the site of the proposed center, including accessibility, facilities, methods of financing, etc.
- Names of proposed officers for the center.
- Proposed dates and time of judging.
- An analysis of the AOS membership that the new center would serve.
- The proposed starting date, which must be at least six months following the date of application.
- Such other information as may be pertinent.
- Any trustee in the area should be fully informed of the interest in and the developments behind the application so that the trustee may offer additional information to the JC and the Board of Trustees.
- The application shall be considered carefully by the JC, which shall seek the opinions of the center committees primarily concerned with the application and shall take such steps as it deems necessary to acquire additional information needed to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
- If approved by the Board of Trustees, the new center shall be authorized to operate on a six month trial basis, after which its performance shall be reviewed by the JC. If found satisfactory, the JC shall recommend its continuance for an additional 12 month period after which it shall again be reviewed before being placed on permanent status.
3.5.2 Additional Judging Sites
Additional judging sites may be established by the Board of Trustees as branch sites to provide additional sources of judging service. Procedure for establishment of such sites is the same as for establishment of new judging centers. In addition, the proposal must pass by a two-thirds vote of the judges within the proposed additional site as well as by a majority vote of the entire center committee. Vice-chairs shall be elected by the center committee and designated as chair and vice-chair of the sites other than that for which the center chair assumes responsibility. They shall be responsible for the operation of their designated sites and other activities as may be assigned by the center committee. Additional sites may be granted full judging center status by meeting the following conditions:
- The additional site must have been in continuous operation for at least one year after having been placed on permanent additional status.
- At least two-thirds of the certified judges serving in the additional site must approve, by a secret ballot, the request for change to full judging center status.
- Application for change to full judging center status shall be made in writing to the chair of the JC with copies to the chair of the center where the additional site is located and the chairs of any other additional sites of the parent center. This application will contain the result of the vote of the certified judges serving in the additional site, the proposed name of the new center and the Affiliated Societies willing to support and be served by the new center. The JC must approve the application for recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
- If approved by the Board of Trustees, the additional site will begin operation as an independent center on January 1 of the year following the approval by the trustees.
*Note: Since the Trustees recognized the Northeast Judging Center and the Florida North Central Judging Center as centers with "extra judging sites" and dates prior to implementation of these Handbook changes, these Centers will continue to be accepted as currently defined and will be exempt from these changes.
3.6 Criteria For Relocation of a Judging Center
- There must be convincing evidence that the present judging centers cannot adequately serve the needs of the orchid growers in the area.
- There must be a sufficient number of certified judges willing to serve the proposed center to ensure the proper conduct of judging activity.
- With the exception of the center being relocated, such relocation shall not have any adverse effect upon other existing centers.
- There should be sufficient plant material of potential award quality and sufficient number of exhibitors to warrant relocating the center.
- The Affiliated Societies in the area to be served must be willing to provide financial and administrative support for the operation of the proposed center.
- A request by a majority of the certified judges at the involved center, recommendation by the JC and approval by the AOS Board of Trustees are necessary for relocation.
- If approved by the AOS Board of Trustees, the new center shall be authorized to operate on a six month trial basis, after which its performance shall be reviewed by the JC. If found satisfactory, the JC shall recommend its continuance for an additional 12 month period after which it shall again be reviewed before being granted permanent status.
3.7 Judging Center Probation or Dissolution Criteria:
- Withdrawal of sponsorship by Affiliated Societies and inability to obtain new sponsorship.
- Failure to fulfill the obligations and responsibilities of a judging center described in paragraphs 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4 of the current edition of the Handbook
- A Center may be placed on probation for a period of time or dissolved for (1) or (2) above at the discretion of the JC and Trustees. The JC, by a two-thirds vote, or the JC chair upon approval by the AOS president, may place a judging center on probationary status for a period of time to be determined by the JC. During this period, the center will have an opportunity to appeal or correct its deficiencies. Failure to correct the deficiencies within the prescribed time constitutes grounds for dissolution of the center. Dissolution requires either the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the JC voting and a majority vote of the AOS Board of Trustees, or a request for dissolution by twothirds of the certified judges at the involved center plus the concurrence of a majority of the JC and the AOS Board of Trustees.
3.8 Center Representation
Representation of a center at the JC is vital to the administration of the judging system. All centers shall be represented by their chair (or vice-chair as alternate) at each JC meeting. If both the chair and vice-chair are unable to attend, an accredited judge of the center, appointed by the chair to represent the wishes of the center, shall serve as the center's voting alternate. The center's representative, including the chair and vice chair, must vote in a manner that he or she believes reflects the opinions of a majority of the judges of their center. Any comments or discussion at the JC meeting by the center's representative which does not reflect such an opinion must be so identified
If a center is not represented by its chair, vice-chair or appointed alternate at two consecutive JC meetings and the absences are not excused, the center shall forfeit its representation until such time as a new chair is elected.
3.9 Judging Centers and Affiliated Societies
Affiliated Societies in the area served by a judging center must provide financial and administrative support for operation of the center. AOS show approval, both domestic and international, must be obtained from the society's center. Affiliated Societies may change the center serving them by proposing a transfer to and being approved by the chair of the new center, and notification of the former center. If the new center's chair disapproves, the decision may be appealed to the JC.
New societies requesting affiliation with the AOS shall indicate the judging center they intend to support and be served by in their application for affiliation.
AOS judges are volunteers appointed by the Board of Trustees to facilitate the judging system's service to the Society's members and the orchid growing public. A judge's certification is a conditional, revocable privilege maintained by the judge's strict adherence to the system's rules and regulations. This privilege is limited to participation in any AOS-sanctioned judging event; no other benefit is implied or granted except at the discretion of the Judging Committee and the Board of Trustees. The following classes of judge are recognized:
- Retired Emeritus
As a group, probationary and accredited judges are known as certified judges. As a group, senior and emeritus judges are known as inactive judges; they are still certified to judge, but they are not allowed to vote in business meetings except in the case of selecting the center's recommendations for special annual awards as described in paragraph 6.2.11 and judges emeriti who fulfill all attendance requirements for certified judges in which case they retain full voting rights.
4.2 Appointment and Accreditation
All judges, including student judges, are appointed, elevated or terminated by the Board of Trustees upon recommendation of the JC. The JC in turn acts upon recommendations of the judging center committees, upon provisions within this Handbook, or as it deems necessary for the proper and ethical administration of the judging system as described in paragraphs 2.3(3) and 4.8.
A judge must be permitted to participate in any AOS-sanctioned judging activity (wherever held) beyond the mere signing of the judging summary sheet for that event.
4.2.1 Student Judge
Any person aspiring to become an AOS judge and fulfilling the requirements thereof, regardless of his/her place of residence, may apply to any center for appointment as student judge and upon satisfactory completion of the requirements as provided in this chapter ultimately may become an accredited judge. A student judge is expected to participate in the judging center's training program and upon demonstration of satisfactory completion of this training may be eligible for consideration for appointment as probationary judge. A student judge's training period is a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years following their appointment by the board of trustees and expiring at the end of the tenth regular semiannual trustees meeting following their appointment. If a student judge fails to be advanced at the end of five years of service in this grade, the student shall no longer be permitted to judge and he/she shall be terminated as a student judge. A student who resigns may reapply to any judging center committee for reappointment as a student after a minimum waiting period of one year. Any previous time served shall not be reinstated
184.108.40.206 Selection Procedure
Student judges are selected to meet the requirements of the AOS, not to serve their personal ambitions. Knowledge of orchids and competence in evaluating them are indispensable qualities in a judge, but equally important is the judge's behavior in applying this knowledge. Personal integrity must be beyond question and a judge must work effectively and harmoniously as a member of a team. Responsibility for the selection and training of student judges is delegated to the judging center committees. The number of student judges is not mandated; each center selects sufficient candidates to meet its long-term needs, taking into account turnover and the long process by which a student becomes a fully accredited judge.
Following the receipt of an application, the judging center chair shall arrange for the candidate to be interviewed by a committee of accredited judges who, insofar as practicable, will be unacquainted with the candidate. This interview will give the candidate an opportunity to ask and answer questions and to elaborate on material contained in the application. At its option, the judging center committee may prescribe additional steps in reaching a decision about an applicant. The judging center committee shall make a timely decision and notify the applicant in writing. Failure of a candidate to gain acceptance may not reflect the candidate's potential but may simply signify the fact that the center cannot currently absorb additional student judges. Such a candidate may reapply at any time, and at its discretion the center committee may dispense with the interview or other evaluative steps.
Candidates for student judge must:
- Have a long term commitment to orchidology, including the growing and exhibition of orchids.
- Anticipate serving as judges long enough to justify their training and to make contributions to the judging system.
- Pass a color perception screening test as prescribed by the AOS, before their applications are acted upon by the judging center committee.
- Have broad interest in orchids beyond those directly related to judging, e.g., orchid conservation, developments in research, education of the public in orchidology, etc. Concentrated experience in a specific area such as hybridization or photography is advantageous but does not overcome the need for the candidates to meet the other criteria.
- Be eager to expand their knowledge. The essential quality at the point of selection is the applicant's capacity and desire to learn.
- Be able to make independent judgments and to maintain a point of view without becoming contentious or defensive.
- While serving as AOS judges, maintain high standards of personal integrity and ethics and avoid any conduct which could be construed as unethical by an observer. They must recognize that their actions reflect upon the judging system and the AOS, and that they themselves will be judged by their appearance, demeanor and competence.
- Be committed to the judging system and to its orderly evolution. Their criticisms should be constructive and aimed at improving the equity and uniformity of the judging process.
- Maintain membership in the AOS, and subscribe to AQ Plus.
- Give evidence of potential for leadership.
- Be able to meet the requirements of the judging system with respect to available time, language skills, ability to travel, physical and mental fitness, and participation in training and judging activities.
The written application from candidates for student judge shall include complete name, address including zip code, home and work telephone numbers, and the following information in enough detail to permit thorough evaluation of their qualifications.
- Have you previously applied for appointment as student judge or served as an AOS judge? If yes, explain briefly.
- How long have you been a member of the AOS?
- Describe your experience in growing orchids (length of time, types grown, facilities used, size of collection, etc.).
- Describe your participation in orchid societies of which you are currently or have been a member.
- Have you exhibited in orchid shows? How extensively?
- Describe your participation in orchid shows other than as an exhibitor.
- Have you attended or participated in activities of your judging center's committee such as judging sessions or training courses? Describe.
- Describe your orchid library in general (books, periodicals, photographs, etc.).
- On a separate sheet, list books and periodicals in your personal library.
- Do you subscribe to AQ Plus?
- Describe any feature of your regular work or hobbies which would enhance your knowledge of orchids or your ability to evaluate them.
- Describe any other training or educational activities related to orchids in which you have engaged.
- Why do you want to become an orchid judge?
- What do you regard as your strongest qualification for serving?
- Give the names and addresses of two or more persons who have knowledge of your interest in orchids, growing experience, etc.
- Do you understand and agree to meet the requirements for serving as judge as specified in the Handbook on Judging and Exhibition, specifically, the requirements for time and travel?
- Signature and date.
- Provide evidence of passing a color-perception test.
- Sign the student affidavit provided by the AOS in the form approved by the JC.
4.2.2 Probationary Judge
Candidates for probationary judge must have served as a student judge for a minimum of three years determined by the sixth regular semiannual trustees meeting following their appointment and must be nominated by one or more accredited judges for consideration by the judging center committee. The judging center committee shall vote on the student judges they propose for advancement, at the center committee business meeting prior to the trustees meeting at which the judges will be eligible for advancement. The requirements for a quorum and voting procedures for business meetings of the judging center's committee are specified in paragraphs 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168). Candidates recommended for appointment as certified judges will be required to sign an appointment acceptance agreement provided by the AOS, in the form approved by the JC.
If the judging center committee fails to approve a nomination for probationary judge, the candidate shall be provided with a written statement that he/she may be reconsidered at a subsequent business meeting. If a probationary judge fails to be advanced at the end of five years of service in this grade, he/she shall no longer be permitted to judge, he/she shall be terminated as a judge and his/her name shall be dropped from the Judges List. The five years of service will be dated from the trustees' approval of the probationary judge and will expire at the end of the tenth trustees' meeting following that approval.
4.2.3 Accredited Judge
Candidates for accredited judge must have served a minimum of three years as a probationary judge, determined by the sixth regular semiannual trustees meeting following their appointment. Judging center committees shall vote on the judges they propose for advancement, at the center committee business meeting prior to the trustees meeting at which the judges will be eligible for advancement. The procedure for nomination for advancement is the same as for probationary judge. The requirements for a quorum and voting procedures for business meetings of the judging center's committee are specified in paragraphs 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. Candidates recommended for appointment as certified judges will be required to sign an appointment acceptance agreement provided by the AOS, in the form approved by the JC.
4.2.4 Senior Judge
- Senior judge status may be conferred upon an accredited judge who has served a minimum of 10 years as certified judge but because of circumstances such as location, age, illness, etc., is unable to fulfill the total attendance and judging requirements. Under appropriate circumstances, any accredited judge may request from the center committee a change in status to senior judge, or such change may be initiated by the judging center's committee. Justification for the change must be detailed in writing by the judging center chair and accompany the recommendation to the JC.
- A senior judge will be expected to participate in judging functions whenever possible but will no longer be required to fulfill the total annual judging requirements. A senior judge will not have to attend required training, but to continue to judge must maintain his/her judging abilities as stated in paragraphs 4.5(1)-(9). A senior judge may serve as an AOS judging chair at AOS-sanctioned orchid shows within the jurisdiction of his/her center, may attend judging center business meetings, but will not be counted in determining a quorum, and may not vote except in the case of selecting the center's recommendations for special annual awards as described in paragraph 6.2.11. The status of each senior judge shall be reviewed annually by the judging center committee. If the judge fails to participate annually in at least one monthly judging of the center or at least one AOS sanctioned show within the area served by the center, the judging center committee may recommend implementation of paragraph 188.8.131.52. Senior judges shall be included in the Judges List as long as they remain members of the AOS and subscribe to AQ Plus. Should these lapse, the procedure described in paragraph 184.108.40.206 will apply; a lack of reinstatement will result in automatic suspension or termination.
- If the circumstances prompting the initial appointment as senior judge no longer exist, the judge may request from the center committee a return in status to accredited judge. If the return is approved by the center committee, justification for it must be detailed in writing by the judging center chair and accompany the recommendation to the JC. Upon return, the judge may not vote in business meetings, except in the case of selecting the center's recommendations for special annual awards as described in paragraph 6.2.11, until they have served one year after the date of the return as accepted by the AOS Board of Trustees.
4.2.5 Judge Emeritus
This is an honorary status, the highest honor the AOS can bestow on a judge. This status may not be requested by a judge but may be initiated by the judging center committee or by the JC. A minimum of 20 years of outstanding service as a certified judge, including long-term participation in judging activities beyond simply maintaining frequent attendance, is the prime consideration, If deemed appropriate, the time requirement may be waived by the JC. A judge's demeanor and record of participation must have been consistent with the highest standards of the AOS, and the judge's associates must consider the judge in every way to be worthy of this highest honor. A statement of qualifications, including years of service, offices held in connection with judging and any other judging activity engaged in beyond that normally required of a judge must accompany the recommendation. Non-judging activities in the AOS should also be included when appropriate. Other information may be requested by the JC at its discretion.
A judge emeritus may (but will no longer be required to) participate in judging at judging center sessions or shows. An emeritus judge will not have to attend required training, but to continue to judge must maintain his/her judging abilities as stated in 4.5(1)-(9). The judge may serve as an AOS judging chair at AOS-sanctioned orchid shows, may attend business meetings, but will not be counted in determining a quorum, and may not vote except in the case of selecting the center's recommendations for special annual awards as described in Section 6.2.11, unless the judge fulfills all attendance requirements for certified judges, in which case full voting rights are retained. Judges emeriti shall be included in the Judges List as long as they remain members of the AOS and subscribe to AQ Plus. Should these lapse, the procedure described in Section 220.127.116.11 will apply. A lack of reinstatement will result in an automatic shift to retired judge emeritus and judging privileges shall cease. (See Section 4.9.3).Judges emeriti are exempt from the requirement of subscribing to AQ Plus, which will be provided to them in recognition of their long service to AOS and to the judging program.
4.2.6 Retired Judge
This is a special status, which may be requested by or conferred upon an accredited judge who has served satisfactorily for a minimum of five years as a certified judge but, for reasons acceptable to the JC, is unable to continue to serve (See paragraph 4.9.3).
4.2.7 Judges List (click here, to access the list of current AOS judges)
The Judges List shall be published on the AOS website and in AQ Plus. The Judges List shall contain the name, mailing address and the telephone number where each judge can be reached. For convenience, the judges shall be listed in groups according to their assigned judging centers. Any certified judge from any judging center is permitted to participate in any AOS center judging session or any AOS award judging at AOS-sanctioned shows.
4.3 Continuing Status
An accredited judge is appointed for an indefinite period. Student and probationary judges may be considered for advancement after three years in grade and, if they fail to achieve advancement, may be reconsidered at a subsequent business meeting as provided in paragraphs 4.2.1 and 4.2.2. A judge may at any time be suspended or terminated for cause as set forth in paragraph 18.104.22.168, or automatically, as set forth in paragraph 22.214.171.124.
4.4 Judging Center Assignment
A judge or candidate for student judge shall ordinarily be assigned to serve the center of his/her choice. If for any reason a certified judge later wishes to serve in another judging center, application for transfer shall be made to the chairs of the two judging centers involved. If they approve, the transfer shall take place upon notification by the former center's chair to the JC chair. Notice of the transfer and its effective date shall be recorded in the JC agenda. In the event that there is an ethical issue involving the transferring judge, the issue must be resolved in accordance with paragraph 126.96.36.199 before the transfer occurs. If either chair disapproves of a request for transfer, the decision may be appealed to the JC.
A student judge may transfer only upon approval first by his/her original center committee and then by the desired center committee in duly called business meetings. Release and acceptance shall be based upon favorable evaluation of the student's performance and apparent potential for positive contributions to the judging system, including background, training, judging practice, and general conduct, noted in paragraphs 4.2.1, 188.8.131.52, 4.7.4 and 4.8. If approved, the transfer shall take place upon notification of the JC chair by both center chairs. Denial of a student's request for transfer by either center committee may be appealed once and reconsidered at that center's next regular business meeting.
Any transfer shall be accompanied by authenticated records of service at the prior judging center, signed by the center chair. If a student or probationary judge has accumulated substantial credit at his/her original judging center, the new judging center committee shall evaluate his/her records to prevent unnecessary duplication of previous service. Probationary judges and students should note that success or failure in a transfer will not extend the five-year period referred to in paragraphs 4.2.1 and 4.2.2, and a transfer accordingly should be applied for at a time that, if the transfer is approved, will provide adequate time for the new center committee to evaluate the judge's performance prior to the end of that period. Certified judges transferring between judging centers shall not be permitted to vote in general business meetings for one year from the date of transfer as approved by the new center's chair and recorded via the JC report and shall not be counted in determining business meeting quorum requirements.
4.5 Knowledge and Abilities
An AOS judge is a person considered by the trustees to be qualified to pass critical judgments upon the merits and demerits of orchid species and hybrids. Owing to the great size of the orchid family it is not possible for any one judge to possess a comprehensive knowledge of all genera and species, but the following requirements are basic:
- A judge must have a thorough knowledge of the species and hybrids most commonly grown and a general knowledge of the species and hybrids of the lesser-known genera.
- A judge must have an understanding of the potential limits of the species involved in hybridization, the achievement of the hybridizer and the effects of polyploidy.
- A judge must keep abreast of the developments in hybridizing, judging, growing and all other phases of orchid activity that might affect one's capacity as a judge.
- A judge must have knowledge of arrangement and composition in reference to the evaluation of group exhibits.
- A judge must have a general knowledge of historic and current orchid literature.
- A judge must be able to organize knowledge quickly, effectively and objectively, recognizing personal preferences and prejudices, and must not be unduly influenced by them.
- A judge must be able, in the presence of other judges, to formulate an independent opinion and, conversely, be able to recognize the merits of the opinions of other judges.
- A judge must have no abnormality in color perception. An AOS color-perception test or a statement from a certified ophthalmologist may be required to establish this fact.
- A judge should be able to travel and participate in judging activities in areas other than the judging center he/she serves.
- A judge must possess sufficient command of the English language so that he/she can understand the Handbook on Judging and Exhibition and AQ Plus, can understand and write descriptions, can make and understand comments being made about any plant, and can respond to questions.
To retain status as a judge, a judge must:
- Maintain membership in the AOS in good standing in order to legitimately serve as its representative. The judge must subscribe to AQ Plus. If his/her membership in AOS or subscription to AQ Plus lapses, he/she shall forfeit his/her standing as a judge.
- To retain status as a judge, a certified judge must: Fulfill his/her judging requirements by participating in at least eight judgings in his/her assigned judging area each year, at least four of which must be at the monthly judging sessions in his/her assigned judging center. A maximum of 4 out of center judgings may be attended to reduce the center's number requirement by 2 (½ credit per judging). Any judge, who has not attended the minimum number of judgings during the preceding calendar year, shall be denied voting privileges on any matter at the center's business meeting in the current calendar year. A judge should judge annually at one or more AOS-sanctioned judging activities outside the area served by his/her judging center.
- Attend each biannual business meeting and any duly called business meeting of the judging center committee unless excused by the judging center chair. Disciplinary action will be invoked if a judge has two or more consecutive unexcused absences. Excused absences shall be limited to no more than two in a row; further consecutive absences would be unexcused.
- Participate annually in no less than 12 hours of scheduled training sessions as specified in paragraph 4.7.3.
- Maintain the qualifications required in paragraph 184.108.40.206, the knowledge and abilities required in paragraph 4.5, and the standards of conduct required in paragraph 4.8.
- Cooperate fully with the chair of judging and the captain of his/her judging team in completing the routine duties of their assignment such as signing forms, describing and measuring flowers, and remaining with the team until excused.
- Express him/herself clearly and unequivocally in evaluating a flower, plant or exhibit, avoiding both passive acceptance and aggressive rejection of the opinions of other judges.
4.7 Judges Training
Because of the changing nature of the orchid flora due to hybridization and introduction of new species, all judges are considered to be in training at all times.
4.7.1 National Training Coordinator
The chair of the JC shall appoint a national training coordinator who shall assist and advise the judging centers' training coordinators, and maintain liaison with the JC. His/her purpose as training coordinator is to coordinate training to assure uniformity of judging practices throughout the judging system. He/she may recommend changes in training practices and issue training bulletins as needed, subject to approval by the JC.
4.7.2 Judging Center Training Coordinator
Each judging center chair shall appoint a judges' training coordinator to implement a training program for all assigned student and certified judges in the center's jurisdiction. Additional judges' training coordinators may be appointed in additional judging sites by the additional site chair. The training coordinator shall manage the instructional program and evaluate the progress of the group of student judges as a whole, revising the training when necessary to better the result.
4.7.3 Training Programs
Each center and/or additional judging site shall offer not less than 12 hours of scheduled training each year. These may be provided in conjunction with monthly center judging, or as partial-day, full day or multiple day training seminars. Judges must notify the center chair or the training coordinator whether or not they plan to attend the scheduled seminars. Although all judges are urged to attend their own center's training seminars, they may substitute other programs that fulfill the criteria for acceptable continuing education for judges, including any non-training seminar programs of the center.
The judging center training coordinator shall maintain records of all judges' participation in training sessions. However, it is the responsibility of the judges to inform the judging center's training coordinator of the out-of-center training which substitutes for, or augments, their requirements. Judging centers in close geographic proximity are strongly encouraged to conduct periodic joint judges' training seminars or workshops.
Acceptable categories of continuing education programs for judges include but are not limited to:
- Academic courses of study pertaining directly to orchids given by accredited institutions.
- Independent formal seminars by acknowledged authorities in the field of orchids presented at regional, national or international meetings.
- Training seminars sponsored by the judge's "home" center or other "home" center training options.
- Training seminars sponsored by judging centers other than the judge's "home" center. 5) Other researched presentations by judges at their centers.
- The showing of award images per se should not be considered unless they are sorted or collated and shown with commentary and a specific purpose in mind (e.g., current trends in yellow cattleya awards, newly recognized species in the Pleurothallid Alliance, recent trends in CCM awards, etc.)
- Presentations prepared and given by accredited judges pertaining to judging.
- Electronic national training judging seminars and webinars.
- Additional categories can be approved by the center chair or training coordinator.
4.7.4 Student Judges' Training Program
- Student judges are apprentice judges working with and learning from certified judges on the judging floor, in judging seminars and through special, individual study assignments. The training coordinator or an alternate shall evaluate students' strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis and assign study accordingly. The training coordinator may recommend whether or not student judges be continued, advanced, or terminated by the judging center committee.
- Each student judge shall be assigned two accredited judges to serve as advisers or counselors throughout the training period, the purpose being to provide two way liaison between the student judge and certified judges of the center in dealing with observed problems. Advisers are responsible for the student judge's progress.
- Student judges recommended for termination may appeal to the judging center committee as a whole if they feel they have been unfairly evaluated.
- Student judge advisers shall provide early orientation for student judges on formal judging practices on such subjects as point scoring, judging floor procedures, and judges' ethics preliminary to more extensive training in these subjects.
- A regular testing and evaluation program is an essential component of training, the results of which should be recorded in each student's personnel records and should become a part of the student judge's credentials for advancement or transfer between centers. Sample evaluation forms can be found on the AOS website.
- It is intended that the opportunity be available for students to address proper and relevant questions to judges.
- Before entering the judges' training program, applicants should have considerable working experience growing and exhibiting orchids and the ability to identify the more common orchid genera and species including an understanding of basic botanical terms. (See paragraph 220.127.116.11).
- All student judges are expected to represent the American Orchid Society in a creditable manner at all judging sessions; they shall periodically exhibit and participate in sanctioned shows and exhibitions.
4.7.5 Suggested Subjects for Student Judge Training:
- Plant nominations, evaluation and scoring using point scales.
- AOS awards categories.
- Evaluation of color, form, texture and substance.
- Writing flower descriptions including measurements.
- Objectivity in orchid judging.
- Ethics in judging, including the items listed in paragraph 4.8.
- The philosophy of judging.
- Compare orchid judging systems.
- Ribbon or show judging.
- Conduct of judges at orchid shows with emphasis on demeanor and wearing apparel.
- The judge clerk relationship at orchid shows.
- Properly constituted AOS judging teams.
- Evaluation of artistic arrangements and exhibits.
- The proper use of orchid literature and current reference materials in judging.
- The duties of the team captain in AOS judging.
- The duties of the judging chair at AOS-sanctioned shows.
- Nomination and scoring of exhibits.
4.7.6 Instructional Techniques
- Instructional techniques should be varied. Each subject should be organized and developed into instructional units using both written and visual materials wherever practicable. Each unit should be reviewed and discussed during the training session. Periodic testing may be used to assess training effectiveness and progress.
- Hands on practice with live plant material should be used whenever practicable.
- Selected study and research projects should be assigned to each student during the training years.
4.8 Conduct of Judges
Judges shall act at all times by word and deed, while serving as AOS judges, in a manner which will maintain the standards of AOS judging on the highest level and reflect credit upon the judging activities and upon themselves. They shall conduct themselves, while serving as AOS judges, in a manner which will never bring their or the system's integrity into question. Serving as an AOS judge includes but is not limited to AOS judging, orchid show ribbon judging, pre- and post-judging activities such as judges' meals at an orchid show, preview parties and banquets and other activities in which he/she officially represents AOS.
In addition, all AOS judges shall:
- Refrain, while serving as a judge, from making personal comments about a flower, plant, exhibit or orchid grower that do not relate to the judging in progress and which might, if repeated to the exhibitor, be considered gratuitous or derogatory and bring into question the deportment of the judge.
- Disqualify him/her self from judging a plant, flower or exhibit if the judge's impartiality could be questioned.
- Avoid making demeaning comments publicly concerning other judges, judging team support personnel, orchid plants, orchid exhibits, exhibitors or the American Orchid Society. Negative comments during open judging are often appropriate, but should not be demeaning.
- Not publicly make a slanderous or malicious remark about another judge.
- Avoid using sexual analogies and comments (jocular or not) when publicly discussing plants or people.
- Avoid aggressive, persistent or recurrent attempts to influence other judges in awarding or not awarding a plant.
- Conduct him/herself in a calm and rational manner, which will permit the harmonious resolution of differing viewpoints and judgments.
- Avoid "high ball" or "low ball" scoring intended solely to inflate the point count spread.
- Not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, while judging or officially representing the AOS. Responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages prior to or following judging is permissible.
- Dress appropriately when judging at an orchid show, thus showing respect for the event being judged.
- Neither be paid nor have to pay for the opportunity to participate in AOS award judging at any AOS-sanctioned activity.
- Not accept reimbursement in excess of actual cost, for expenses related to show judging (transportation, lodging and meals.
- Make a reasonable attempt to comply with the requirements for clearing his/her provisional award.
- Pay for purchased orchid plants, award fees, taxonomic plant identification charges and delinquent provisional award fees.
- Not steal orchid plants, pollen or tissue.
- Not be involved in sales transactions in the judging area during ribbon judging or AOS judging.
- Not falsify a grex, clonal name or hybrid parentage.
- Not "buy" or "sell" an award as the reward for influencing or attempting to influence the granting of that award.
- Not disclose privileged information, as discussed in executive session, of the center committee or the American Orchid Society prior to official notification or distribution, including, but not limited to, personnel matters.
- Notify the sponsoring organization if he/she is unable to fulfill orchid related commitments (judging orchid shows; lecturing at an orchid society, etc.).
- Disqualify him/her self from participation in all personnel matters involving any judge with whom he/she has a relationship that might in any way be construed as interfering with impartially. Members of the same family, household or commercial establishment must be recused from any such participation and not be present during the deliberation and voting.
4.9 Separation from Service
4.9.1 Leave of Absence
A judge in good standing, who, due to uncontrollable circumstances, is unable to fulfill his/her judging duties, may make written application to the judging center chair for the center committee to grant a leave of absence for a maximum of two years. If the judging center committee approves, it shall notify the JC of the reason for the leave and its effective starting and ending dates. No action is required by the JC. The names of judges granted leaves of absence shall be carried on the Judges List. Judges on leave may judge; however, they may not serve as an AOS judging chair at AOS-sanctioned orchid shows; and may not vote in business meetings until they have served one year at their judging center after the effective ending date of the leave as determined by the center committee, and they shall not be counted in determining the business meeting quorum requirements. The leave of absence of a probationary judge does not extend the five year termination rule. (See paragraph 4.2.2.)
4.9.2 Resignation of a Judge:
A judge who wishes to resign shall submit a written notice to the judging center committee, which shall in turn notify the JC of the resignation. A certified judge who has resigned may apply to any judging center to reenter the judging system after a minimum waiting period of one year from the time the resignation was accepted. If a two-thirds majority of the accredited judges at the next scheduled business meeting of the judging center committee of the center to which the resigned judge applied, recommends approval of the reentry request, it must be forwarded to the JC for its recommendation and then to the Board of Trustees for its decision.
If approved, reentry must be made at the probationary judge level for a period to be determined by the judging center committee, but not to be less than one period between biannual Trustees Meetings. If the request for reentry is denied, the resigned judge may apply for reentry to another judging center or may re-apply as a student judge.
A student judge who has resigned may re-apply to any judging center as a student judge after a minimum waiting period of one year.
4.9.3 Retirement of a Judge:
Retirement is a special status, which may be conferred upon an accredited judge who has served satisfactorily for a minimum of five years as a certified judge but for reasons acceptable to the JC is unable to continue to serve. The judge must submit a written request for retirement to the judging center committee. If the request is rejected, the judge may submit the request directly to the JC. This procedure is not to be confused with termination, suspension or resignation. A retired judge shall no longer participate in AOS judging or judging center meetings but his/her name shall be retained on the permanent list of retired judges. A retired judge may apply to any judging center to reenter the judging system after a minimum waiting period of one year from the time the retirement was approved by the Board of Trustees. If a two-thirds majority of the accredited judges at the next scheduled business meeting of the judging center committee of the center to which the retired judge applied, recommends approval of the reentry request, it must be forwarded to the JC for its recommendation and then to the Board of Trustees for its decision. If approved and the total duration of retirement did not exceed two years, reentry may be made at the same level as when the judge retired. Otherwise reentry must be made at the probationary judge level for a period to be determined by the judging center committee, but not to be less than one period between biannual Trustees Meetings. If the request for reentry is denied, the retired judge may apply for reentry to another judging center.
4.9.4 Suspension, Termination and/or Lesser Sanctions
A certified judge may be suspended and/or terminated either for cause, as set forth in paragraph 18.104.22.168; automatically, as set forth in paragraph 22.214.171.124; or subject to lesser sanctions as set forth in paragraph 126.96.36.199.
Written and signed complaints from any source alleging unethical behavior of AOS judges must be submitted simultaneously to the judge's center chair and the JC chair for review, and shall be considered confidential.
A charge leading to suspension, termination or lesser sanctions for cause, or a procedure for automatic suspension or termination may be initiated by a judge's center committee or by the JC chair. If initiated by the chair of the JC, information concerning the charges shall be referred promptly to the affected judge's center chair who shall then follow the procedures set forth in either paragraph 188.8.131.52 or paragraph 184.108.40.206, as appropriate. If an alleged incident occurs at another judging center's event, the chair of that center shall promptly refer information concerning the charges to the affected judge's center chair who shall then follow the procedures set forth in either paragraph 220.127.116.11 or paragraph 18.104.22.168, as appropriate.
Suspension of a certified judge results in the temporary cessation of all of the responsibilities and privileges of being an AOS judge. The certified judge shall be prohibited from participating in any AOS judging activity; however, he/she shall be encouraged to attend center committee meetings, training or teaching sessions and judging sessions, as an observer. The suspension can last for up to one year. Multiple infractions shall not result in concurrent suspensions. Suspension does not preclude the possibility of subsequent termination. The time a probationary judge spends under suspension shall extend the five-year maximum time in service rule.
Termination of a certified judge shall result in the permanent cessation of all of the responsibilities and privileges of being an AOS judge. At any time in the course of the suspension or termination process, a judge may elect to resign without prejudice and such action shall terminate the pending procedure.
Suspension of a certified judge results in the temporary cessation of all of the responsibilities and privileges of being an AOS judge. The certified judge shall be prohibited from participating in any AOS judging activity; however, he/she shall be encouraged to attend center committee meetings, training or teaching sessions and judging sessions, as an observer. The suspension can last for up to one year. Multiple infractions shall not result in concurrent suspensions. Suspension does not preclude the possibility of subsequent termination. The time a probationary judge spends under suspension shall extend the five-year maximum time in service rule.
Termination of a certified judge shall result in the permanent cessation of all of the responsibilities and privileges of being an AOS judge. At any time in the course of the suspension or termination process, a judge may elect to resign without prejudice and such action shall terminate the pending procedure.
22.214.171.124 Suspension and/or Termination for Cause
Grounds for suspension and/or termination for cause shall include:
- lack of participation in judging sessions, business meetings or training activities as required by paragraphs 4.6 (2), (3) and (4);
- inadequacy as a judge as set forth in paragraph 4.5;
- a violation of a standard of conduct as set forth in paragraph 4.8. If a charge is made of lack of participation in judging sessions, business meetings or training activities it shall be investigated by the judging center chair. In determining whether the charge is well-founded and with merit, the chair shall consider whether or not the judge has been given sufficient notice of his deficiencies with a proper opportunity to correct them. If a charge is made of inadequacy as a judge or of a violation of a standard of conduct by a judge, it shall be investigated promptly by the judging center chair, with or without the assistance of a special ad hoc committee appointed by the center chair, to determine if the charge appears to be well-founded and with merit. All known facts of the charge must be investigated and reviewed. The investigation shall include, but not be limited to, interviewing individuals or witnesses and requesting and reviewing any documents or materials that are relevant to the case. Interviewing the judge involved is discretionary.
In the event a charge affects judges throughout the judging program and/or the whole of the American Orchid Society and its interests, the judging center committee shall not have jurisdiction over this matter. In such instance, the AOS board of trustees, or a task force it designates, shall be the most appropriate forum to deal with the issue.
In the event any charge involves the judging center chair, the chair shall be disqualified from performing any of the functions cited herein. Those functions shall then be performed by the first vicechair of the judging center. If both the chair and the first vice-chair are involved, the chair of the JC shall perform those functions or shall appoint another accredited judge from that judging center committee to do so.
If a charge is determined to be well-founded and with merit by the investigation, it, together with the chair's and/or ad hoc committee's findings, and any supporting documentation and recommendations, shall be presented at the next duly called business meeting of the judging center committee. If a twothirds majority of the accredited judges at that meeting finds that the charge is substantiated by the facts, the following steps shall be taken:
- The judging center chair shall advise the affected judge of the charge in a clearly written statement mailed to the judge's last address known to the judging center chair.
- Such notice shall inform the judge that the charge and the question of his/her suspension or termination will be on the agenda of business to be conducted at the next duly scheduled business meeting or at a special business meeting called by the Chair for that purpose. Such notice shall also advise the judge that he/she may appear in person together with a reasonable number of witnesses on his/her behalf, but without counsel, to challenge such action or that he/she may submit a written statement in opposition to the proposed action. The judge must submit such statement and/or request the right to appear in person with the names of any witnesses to the Center chair at least ten days prior to such meeting. A failure to submit such statement or a list of witnesses within the time prescribed shall constitute a waiver of the right to submit a statement or to produce witnesses on his behalf at such meeting.
- The voting procedures and requirements in paragraph 126.96.36.199 shall be followed and fulfilled at all meetings held pursuant to this section.
- At the meeting scheduled or called for such purpose, the judging center committee may vote to recommend suspension and/or termination of the judge. A recommendation for suspension shall include the length of time of the suspension, which can commence immediately if the judging center committee so determines. The judging center committee shall also have the authority to recommend termination, preceded by immediate temporary suspension, until the termination is approved by the Board of Trustees. If a two-thirds majority of the accredited judges recommend suspension and/or termination, the center chair shall forward the recommendation to the chair of the JC, together with the statement of charges, a record of the proceedings, a summary of the judge's oral statement or a copy of his/her written statement, if any, and the final ballot count. The recommendation of the judging center committee shall be considered privileged information, not to be disclosed other than to necessarily affected persons, until acted upon by the Board of Trustees.
- A judge recommended for suspension and/or termination under this procedure shall be notified by the chair of the JC that a recommendation for suspension or termination has been received by the JC and will be placed on the agenda for consideration at the next scheduled meeting of the JC. The affected judge shall have the right to submit a written protest or challenge to the recommendation of the judging center committee and/or the right to appear in person at such meeting. Submission of such a protest and/or a notice of intent to appear shall be filed by the judge with the JC Chair at least ten days prior to such meeting. Failure to do either within such time period shall constitute a waiver of that right. If the judge appears in person at that meeting of the JC, he/she shall not be permitted to have counsel present or to present witnesses.
- The chair of the JC or a majority of the members of the JC may appoint an ad hoc task force to evaluate the charges and to report its recommendation at the next meeting of the JC. In the event the affected judge's suspension had already commenced, the suspension shall continue during the interval between meetings.
- If the JC concludes not to sustain the recommendation of the judging center committee or decides to return the matter to that committee for further action, the judge and the judging center chair shall be so notified. In the event that the judge's suspension had commenced earlier, it shall end immediately; however, this does not preclude the possibility of subsequent suspension or termination as described above.
- If the JC concurs by a majority vote with the recommendation of the judging center committee, it shall recommend to the Board of Trustees that the judge's service be suspended or terminated. In the event the judge's suspension had commenced prior to this ruling, the time already spent will count toward the total length of the suspension.
- After a majority vote by the Board of Trustees, the AOS shall notify the judge, the judging center chair and the JC chair of the Board's decision.
188.8.131.52 Automatic Suspension or Termination
- Grounds for automatic suspension or termination shall include:
- Failure of an AOS judge to maintain AOS membership and a current subscription to AQ Plus, except as noted in 4.2.5 for judges emeriti.
- Failure of an AOS judge to execute and deliver such waivers as may be required by the JC,
- Failure of an AOS judge to pay for awards, and
- Failure of an AOS judge to make a reasonable effort to clear his/her provisional
- Failure of a probationary judge or student judge to be advanced at the end of five years of service in their respective grade.
- In each instance outlined in (1) (a) through (d) above, an initial notice or invoice (as appropriate) shall be sent to the judge. If the judge has not executed the required waiver or paid the required fees within 30 days from the due date of the notice or invoice, a second notice or invoice shall be sent via certified mail with return receipt requested. A copy of this notice shall be sent to the center chair, who shall acknowledge receipt of the notice and shall insert a copy of it in the judge's personnel file. A copy of this notice shall also be sent to the JC chair. The second notice shall state that if full payment or the signed waiver is not received within 60 days from the date of the notice the judge shall be placed automatically on suspension for a period of 60 days. The second notice shall also inform the judge that if he/she is ultimately placed on suspension, he/she may not judge, present plants and/or cut flowers for AOS judging, and at the end of the 60 day suspension if the payment or waiver has not been received, he/she will be permanently terminated as an AOS judge.
- If a judge has not made a reasonable effort to comply with the requirements for clearing his/her provisional award (paragraph 184.108.40.206 (1) (d) above) within one year or at the end of any extension granted by the center chair the award shall be nullified by the center chair and the awards registrar notified. The awards registrar shall immediately place the judge's name on the delinquent exhibitors list. The judge shall be charged a fee to cover the administrative costs incurred by the AOS for processing the provisional award. Upon payment, the judge's name will be removed from the delinquent list and all judging privileges reinstated. The registrar shall use the same process and actions as outlined in (2) above to notify the judge of the administrative charge and the punitive actions which will be instituted should payment not be received. In the event that a judge has an ownership interest in a commercial company that has not made a reasonable effort to comply with the requirements of clearing its provisional awards an identical process shall be followed
- If a probationary judge fails to be advanced at the end of five years of service in this grade, he/she shall be automatically terminated as a judge as described in paragraph 4.2.2. If a student judge fails to be advanced at the end of five years service in this grade, he/she shall be automatically terminated as a student judge as described in paragraph 4.2.1.
- In the event, that any of the failures discussed above in paragraphs 220.127.116.11 (1) (2), or (3) involve the judging center chair, the chair shall be disqualified from performing the functions cited in those paragraphs. Those functions then shall be performed by the first vice-chair of the judging center. If both the chair and the first vice-chair are involved, the chair of the JC shall perform those functions or shall appoint another accredited judge from that judging center committee to do so.
- In the event a center chair does not comply with the requirements of this Handbook and specifically paragraph 3.2.1, the Chair of the Judging Committee shall place an item on the agenda for the next scheduled Judging Committee meeting to review the performance of the center chair. The chair in question will be invited to present his/her case or mitigating circumstances to the Judging Committee. Should, after review, the majority of the Judging Committee members, via secret ballot, determine that the center chair in question is in non-compliance then a recommendation to the Trustees shall be made to remove the center chair.
18.104.22.168 Lesser Sanctions
On occasion lesser sanctions may be appropriate. The center chair has full responsibility and authority for the center's judging activities, including implementation of lesser sanctions. Some examples of these include:
- Talking with the affected judge
- Sending a letter of concern
- Sending a letter of warning
- Sending a letter of reprimand
As is true of any disciplinary action, such sanctions should be well documented and a copy should be filed in the judge's personnel file kept in the center, and a copy forwarded to the JC chair. A lesser sanction should not be considered a precursor or a requirement for possible future discipline.
The chair of the JC also shall have the authority to talk with the affected judge and to initiate a letter of concern or a letter of warning, which will be sent to both the affected judge as well as his center chair, with a requirement that the letter carry the same weight as any comparable disciplinary action initiated from the center. In the case of a JC chair-initiated action, the center and the judge will be expected to keep the JC chair appraised of corrective actions. After three years, if no further disciplinary actions are necessary and the judge's performance is deemed adequate the affected judge may submit a written request to the center judging committee and/or to the JC that the letter be removed from the judge's personnel file.
5.1 Purpose of Judging
The purpose of judging at AOS judging centers and at
AOS-sanctioned shows is to provide a service to members of AOS, the
Affiliated Societies and to orchid growers in general, by which
their orchids may be evaluated and judged for AOS awards at any time
of the year. This is a volunteer activity, for which there is no
remuneration. Any grower of orchids is invited to participate and
there shall be no entry fee charged. Dates and details of monthly
judgings and of AOS-sanctioned orchid shows are published regularly
in Orchids. Any certified AOS judge must be allowed to participate
in AOS award judging at any AOS-sanctioned judging activity. No
payment shall be charged for this privilege. This shall not
necessarily exempt a judge from payment of other registration fees
at shows, seminars or other functions.
5.2 Judging Materials
The judging center committee shall maintain a permanent supply of
judging materials necessary for its use. These include:
- Current edition of AQ Plus.
- Any reference texts that the center committee may be
able to secure.
- A copy of the latest edition of the Handbook on Orchid
Nomenclature and Registration, published by the
International Orchid Commission.
- Entry forms, score sheets, award stickers, etc., and
notebooks in which to keep them.
- Ledger for entry of all exhibits each month.
- Exhibit acknowledgment cards to be mailed to exhibitors
who have not been present at the judging to notify them of
the results of the judging of their entries.
- An eight- or l0-power lens (loupe) for examining small
5.3 Submission of Plants for Judging
- Submission of plant material, either blooming plants or cut
flowers, shall be considered valid evidence of the exhibitor's
acceptance of the rules pertaining to the judging. All plants or
flowers submitted at a monthly judging session or exhibited at
an AOS-sanctioned show shall be considered as candidates for an
award. The exhibitor is obligated to accept and pay the fee for
any award granted except where he/she has clearly indicated
before the judging that the entry is not to be AOS judged. An
exhibitor may not specify what award will be accepted.
- Plants may be entered by the owner in person, by someone
else on his/her behalf or submitted by mail. Plants and
flowers must be accompanied by sufficient information for
them to be properly judged, i.e., the name, the cross (if a
hybrid), the cultivar names of the parents (if known), the
variety (if a species), the proposed cultivar name, the name
and full address of the exhibitor, and other pertinent data
such as previous awards. Lack of such information may
constitute cause for the elimination of the entry from
consideration. The plant or flower should bear no grower or
owner identification since anonymity in terms of ownership
provides greater objectivity. All entries shall be submitted
at the expense of the exhibitor. International exhibitors
must make arrangements in advance for customs declaration
and delivery from port of entry.
- Plants should be entered in the most presentable
condition possible. Pots should be clean or covered, and
dead pseudobulbs and leaves removed. Leaves should be clean
but not treated to produce an artificial shine.
Inflorescences may be staked to permit them to appear to
best advantage, but staking should be as unobtrusive as
possible and may be removed temporarily during judging if
the judging team feels this is necessary to evaluate the
inflorescence. Additional staking or artificial supports may
be needed while a plant is being transported but should be
removed before the plant is entered.
- Cotton, styrofoam wedges or other material may be used
on a developing inflorescence to encourage the buds to
develop naturally. Attempts to manipulate flower parts after
the flower has opened are usually self-defeating because of
damage to the flower. An inflorescence may be disqualified
by judges if it is evident that an attempt has been made to
force a flower mechanically to a more desirable
- All plants and cut flowers will be judged as individuals
unless agreement is made in advance for judging them as a
group. At the time of judging, flowers shall be in perfect
condition unless the judges are unanimous in deciding that
the unfavorable condition is an unavoidable accident of
shipping or handling and is in no way confusing to their
conception of its quality. Plants showing signs of obvious
disease or infestation by pests shall not be judged;
however, the presence of a few insects on a plant or in its
potting medium, not adversely affecting flower quality, is
not sufficient reason to disqualify a plant from receiving a
quality award. At any time before judging has started, the
chair of judging may advise an exhibitor that the flowers he
proposes to submit are not in proper condition to warrant
judging at this time. The inflorescence may be withdrawn and
will not be considered to have been judged and may be
submitted for consideration at a subsequent judging session
or show. Once an inflorescence has been judged, it cannot be
judged again on the same flowering; however, successive
flowering or branching inflorescences may be resubmitted for
judging consideration if previously considered flowers are
no longer present. When cut flowers are submitted the entire
inflorescence, in one piece, must be available to the
5.4 Care and Disposition of
- All possible care shall be given exhibits unaccompanied by
the owner, but neither the AOS nor any judging center committee
shall be liable for loss. All entries, personal property, etc.,
shall be at the risk of the exhibitor, and the AOS shall not be
liable for loss and damage by theft, fire, water, accident or
any cause whatsoever. Should a meeting not be held for any
cause, no exhibitor shall have any claim on the AOS or its
officers for loss, damage, interest or compensation; nor does
the AOS have responsibility for flowers delayed in delivery past
the time of judging.
- Flowers sent in or not accompanied by the owners shall
be disposed of by the chair of judging. They shall not be
sold or otherwise disposed of for profit nor given to those
present except with the express permission of the owner.
Flowers that receive awards must be made available
immediately for photographic records.
- Cut flowers will not be reshipped to the owner. When
plants are shipped it shall be the responsibility of the
owner and/or shipper to arrange for their return. The chair
of judging is not responsible either for the mechanics or
the expense of returning plants or flowers. No judging
center committee shall be held responsible if plants are
returned with flowers in damaged condition or with pollen
- No sales transactions shall be conducted in the judging
area during AOS judging.
5.5 Judging Practice
- "Entry" is the means by which an
inflorescence is brought to the attention of the
judges for their consideration. Within a show
two forms of entry exist - show entry forms and
official AOS judging entry forms. The two should
not be confused. Any orchid in an AOS judged
show will be deemed to have been presented for
nomination for AOS judging (a) whether or not it
possesses an official AOS judging entry form or
(b) whether or not it is entered via a show
entry form for show ribbon or show trophy
consideration unless the exhibitor has posted
the entry "not for AOS judging."
- "Nomination" is the initial phase in the
judging process in which one or more judges
request that a plant on display at a show or
center judging session be set aside for more
thorough evaluation by an assigned team of
- "Screening" is the phase in the judging
process in which, through verbal discussion or
written ballot by an assigned judging team, an
inflorescence is considered for point-scoring by
the team. Screening out, or elimination from
consideration for point-scoring, must be by
unanimous agreement of the judges on the team. A
single request to point-score shall require that
the team score the entry. An inflorescence that
has been screened out may not be re-screened by
- "Point-scoring" is the final phase of
judging in which an inflorescence, not screened
out, is considered for an award through the use
of the appropriate point scale. Once scored and
granted an award, or scored and rejected for an
award, an inflorescence may not be submitted to
a second team for further consideration except
as provided in paragraph 22.214.171.124 (4).
5.5.2 Judging — General Rules
- AOS awards are to be granted only in accordance
with the rules in this Handbook or as amended from
time to time. All participating judges must be
certified AOS judges in good standing except as
provided in paragraph 6.3.2(3).
- One or more clerks may be appointed to assist
- Only judges, student judges and essential
clerical assistants may actively participate in the
judging process; however, the public shall be
allowed to be present in the room to witness the
process. The chair of judging may require any
visitor to leave if he/she disrupts the normal
process of judging.
- Smoking is prohibited during the judging
- No judge shall judge his/her own entry or that
of any establishment with which he/she may be
connected in any way, except that membership in an
orchid society shall not in itself constitute a
conflict of interest. A judge may disqualify
himself/herself at any time.
- An entry which is misrepresented, which is not
in conformity with the rules, or which is
accompanied by inaccurate or inadequate information
(including notices of previous awards) may be
disqualified by the judges. Reasons for
disqualification shall be recorded on the entry form
or in other official records of the show.
- If any team of judges disqualifies itself, the
chair may appoint a new team.
- Each individual plant that receives an award
shall bear a cultivar name to identify the specific
clone, except when an award is made to a cross, such
as the Award of Quality or the Award of Distinction.
Newly assigned cultivar names shall not exceed a
total length of 24 characters. After the owner of
the awarded plant has corroborated the cultivar name
when remitting payment of the fee for the award to
AOS, the cultivar name may not be changed by the
owner or any subsequent owner of the plant or any
division thereof. Plants bearing cultivar names
prior to being granted an award shall not be given
different cultivar names after receiving an award.
- After judging closes at a show or judging
session, any plant in flower or cut flower shall be
ineligible for consideration of the same
inflorescence at any subsequent show or judging
session except as provided in paragraph 5.3 with
respect to an immature inflorescence.
- The awarded plant or flower must be made
available for photography immediately after the
judging while it is still in prime condition. Top
quality photography should be the goal. The AOS is
not required to pay for inferior photography or
improperly identified images. The exhibitor's copy
of the award image will be distributed by the AOS.
126.96.36.199 Judging — Procedure
A plant nominated for further evaluation shall be assigned by the chair of judging to a team of at least three certified judges, no more than one-third of which shall be probationary judges. However, when practicable, judging teams should comprise five or more members. An alternate method, judging by committee of the whole, may be used whereby all judges present, except those disqualifying themselves and a properly constituted reserve team, may screen and score an entry, and all rules regarding judging procedure must be observed. The reserve team may listen to but not participate in the discussion and judging of the entry. The captain of the judging team may be any certified judge. From the standpoint of validity of awards, there is no distinction between probationary and accredited judges
Whenever feasible, two or more members
of the same family, household or of the
same commercial establishment should not
be assigned to the same team, unless,
when judging by committee as a whole,
the team comprises at least 10 certified
An entry may be screened out from
point-scoring by the unanimous consent
of the judging team. Such entries have
in fact been judged. Point-scoring is
merely a method of ascertaining the
degree of excellence attained. When
judges differ or are in doubt they must
score. Any entry unanimously screened
out, or scored and eliminated by a
properly constituted judging team, may
not be assigned to a new team for
re-screening or rescoring.
Each judge shall independently score the
entry. A judge with many years of
experience who is very familiar with the
genus being considered need not show a
detailed breakdown of the score. The
captain of the team shall calculate the
average based on all of the scores; no
scores shall be deleted. If any score is
unduly out of line the judges may
discuss the factors involved, and any
judge may adjust his/her score in the
light of further reflection. If the
difference between individual scores
exceeds six points (e.g., the difference
between 75 and 81 points equals six
points; the difference between 75 and 82
points exceeds six points), each judge
shall be asked to rescore the entry. If
the individual scores still exceed a
difference of six points, the chair of
judging shall appoint a new team, which,
at the discretion of the chair of
judging, may consult with the original
team. Where judging is by committee of
the whole, the entry shall be referred
to the reserve team; then, if they elect
to do so, they may score the entry
independently. If the difference of
scores again exceeds six points after
consideration by the second team, the
entry shall be considered judged and
eliminated. Scores from the two teams
may not be averaged to produce a common
Taxonomic verification is required for
all previously unawarded species and all
first awards to taxonomically described
varietal forms of otherwise recognized
species, no matter what award is
granted. Although taxonomic verification
need not be presented prior to an
award's being granted, if it was
previously obtained, it should be
accepted when the plant is judged.
Awards will be held in a provisional
status until identification is complete.
Once an award has been cleared it will
be allowed to stand, regardless of
subsequent name changes resulting from
taxonomic changes or award challenges.
If any certified judge on the judging
floor questions the identity of a
species being considered for any award,
then the award will be held in a
provisional status until identification
An entry must be judged as it is when
the judge sees it, not what it was the
day before or what it may be tomorrow.
A new plant or flower should not be
considered to have extra value because
it is a novelty but should be judged on
The point scales in paragraphs 7.2 and
7.3 must be used when scoring, and no
award for which scoring is required
shall be made for less than 75 points.
The official score shall be the average
of the scores of the members of the
judging team with fractions being
adjusted to the nearest whole number.
The benefit of one-half point goes to
the next highest number.
No quality award, excluding a cultural
award which goes to the grower, shall be
granted to a previously awarded cultivar
unless the new flowering is notably
superior to that under any previous
More than one award may be given to a
plant or flower by the same judging
team, e.g., if a particularly well-grown
plant possesses flowers of outstanding
quality, an Award of Merit could be
awarded to the plant and a Certificate
of Cultural Excellence or Certificate of
Cultural Merit to its owner.
A species or natural hybrid shall not
receive a CBR and a CHM at the same
Plants which are illegal in the United
States should not be judged. If an
is unknowingly granted
an AOS award, the award will be
The decisions of the judges shall be
188.8.131.52 Taxonomic Verification
- Taxonomic verification of all previously
unawarded species is required, no matter
what award is granted. Although
taxonomic verification need not be
presented prior to an award's being
granted, if it was previously obtained,
it should be accepted when the plant is
judged. Awards will be held in a
provisional status until identification
- If any certified judge on the judging
floor questions the identity of a
species being considered for any award,
then the award will be held in a
provisional status until identification
- Taxonomic Verification Options
verification which had been
previously obtained as noted above.
- Referring the
necessary plant measurements and
images to the Species
IdentificationTask Force (SITF), as
obtained by the judges and
photographer at the judging session.
184.108.40.206 Species Identification
The SITF, under the responsibility of the JC, is a
team of volunteers with an interest in species and
taxonomy committed to getting the correct names on
species awarded by the AOS judging system in a timely
manner. The SITF is on the list of AOS taxonomic
authorities. The team consists of a chair and selected
members who as a group research and reach a consensus on
the correct names of specimens submitted. They will use
their own resources but if necessary will contact others
in the orchid community who can assist with correct
identification. The hope of the SITF is to do the
identifications based on photographs and information
obtained from the specimen, eliminating the need to ship
plant material. Doing identifications this way requires
more information than provided by one award slide and
one short description. The SITF asks that whoever
submits a specimen to the SITF for identification
provide extra photographs and measurements, using the
forms and guidelines the SITF provides, and using the
Descriptive Terminology in the upper toolbar of AQ Plus
if the terms are unfamiliar.
5.5.3 Recording the Results of
- For each award made, the following steps are
- An entry form in triplicate shall be prepared in proper English, providing a description of the flower with exact measurements and other data as required, including the cultivar name, and the owner's name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
- The original entry form with sticker indicating the nature of the award shall be given to the exhibitor, one copy shall be submitted to the chair of judging or designated administrative chair, one copy shall be given to the photographer.
- In case of previously unawarded species or unregistered hybrids, the exhibitor shall be notified of his responsibility to provide taxonomic verification or registration information of the awarded plant.
- All score sheets must be signed by the judges and retained by the judging center committee or designated administrative chair until the award is published in AQ Plus.
- All information from the judging session, including date, place, judges present, photographer information and all pertinent information on the awarded plant, including full description, measurements, cultivar name and exhibitor information shall be entered into the approved electronic program and submitted to the Awards Registrar in approved electronic format.
- The summary sheet shall contain all
pertinent information regarding the awarded
flowers, including full description,
measurements, and cultivar name.
- The electronic submission should record the
number of plants not awarded.
- The required images, film and/or digital, as
specified by the Awards Registrar, properly
labeled with the judging entry number of each
awarded plant, shall be made and submitted to
the appropriate center chair or designee no
later than 14 days from the date of judging.
Each photographer who agrees to take the
official images of awarded orchid flowers and
plants, by so doing, gives permission to the AOS
to use the submitted images for the Society's
purposes and programs. In the event that images
are lost or inadvertently destroyed and are not
received by AOS, the chair of the JC may waive
the image requirement to avoid nullifying the
award. In such an instance, a comment shall be
added to the award description concerning the
absence of the images. Images of poor quality or
incorrect images shall not be published and
shall not affect the status of the award.
- Awards will be processed only after both the
award's data and awards images are received
All AOS awards which cannot be
certified for publication pending registration
of awarded hybrids; taxonomic verification of
previously unawarded species; or hybrid
identification shall be classified as
provisional awards. Species or hybrids not
identified to the satisfaction of the judging
team may also be given provisional awards. The
process described in paragraph 5.5.4 (6) (b) (1)
for identification of a contested hybrid grex
shall be followed. In the event, more than one
award is granted to a plant or flower, at the
same judging session, and one of the awards
requires taxonomic verification then all awards
are provisional awards.
The records of all provisional
awards given in AOS sanctioned shows and judging
centers shall be forwarded to the chair of the
judging center or designated administrative
chair in which the award was granted and held
until the exhibitor fulfills all conditions of
the pending provisional award.
When an exhibitor has fully
met the conditions of a pending provisional
award, the chair of the center holding the
records of the provisional award shall prepare
an electronic submission as described in
paragraph 5.5.3(2) and send it to the AOS for
processing and billing for the required award
fee(s). The cost of awards photography at a show
is a show expense payable by the sponsoring
Provisional awards shall not be published in AQ
Plus or be represented in trade as AOS awarded
plants until certified for publication by the
After a provisional award is one year old, the
chair of the judging center or designated
administrative chair granting the award shall
contact the person receiving the award to
determine what is being done to satisfy the
award. If no reasonable effort is being made,
the award shall be nullified and the Awards
Registrar notified. Plants and cut flowers
entered for judging by the exhibitor shall not
be accepted in any AOS sanctioned show or
judging center until the fee and reimbursement
for postal charges are paid in full to the AOS
to cover the costs incurred in processing the
provisional award. The fee shall be based on the
current AOS award fees.
5.5.4 Action by the American
- A fee will be charged by the AOS to each
exhibitor who is granted an award to be applied
against the administrative costs of photography,
processing the certificates, etc. No certificate
shall be issued until the award fee has been
- The awards registrar shall bill each
exhibitor, including certified judges, for award
fees after it has been determined that all
requirements for certification are met. The
invoice shall include notice that award fees are
due and payable within 30 days from the date of
billing. A second invoice shall be made to each
exhibitor, including certified judges, who fails
to pay a required award fee within 30 days from
the original billing date. The invoice shall
include a notice that the pending award will be
nullified if the fee payment is not received
within 30 calendar days of the date of the
- The second invoice shall also include a
notice that plants and cut flowers entered for
judging by any exhibitors, including certified
judges, in arrears for failure to pay award fees
shall not be accepted for AOS judging at any
AOS-sanctioned show or judging center until the
delinquent award fee and reimbursement for
postal charges are paid to reimburse the AOS for
administrative costs incurred. A list of
delinquent exhibitors periodically will be
distributed to the center chairs by the awards
registrar. If an exhibitor on the list chooses
to exhibit plants in an AOS sponsored show, each
plant or group of plants so exhibited must be
marked "Not for AOS judging". This notice shall
also inform the judge who is delinquent in
payment of award fees that he/she shall not be
permitted to judge until the delinquent award
fee and reimbursement for postal charges are
paid in full, and he/she shall be subject to
automatic suspension or termination as described
in paragraph 220.127.116.11(3).
- In a the event that the judge has an
ownership interest in a commercial company that
is deficient in payment of an award fee or not
compliant with the requirements for clearing a
provisional award, an identical process will be
followed as described in paragraphs 18.104.22.168(3)
- An award which, either through error or lack
of knowledge, is granted in violation of the
rules, may be nullified by the AOS or rescinded
by the JC.
- Procedure for contested identifications of
awarded hybrids and cultivars:
- The grex, species or cultivar identification of an awarded plant can be contested by an accredited judge in writing to the Awards Registrar. The challenge shall disclose fully the judge's rationale and sources, and divulge any interest in either the plant or the outcome of the challenge.
- The JC Contested Awards Task Force shall:
- for a contested hybrid grex or any cultivar, select and survey a panel of specialists in the genus for opinion as to the accuracy of identification.
- for a contested species identification, review the award's background and if taxonomic identification had been by a recognized specialist in that genus, the identification shall stand. If identification had been by a generalist, or the plant had not been formally identified by a recognized taxonomic authority, the JC CATF can require that a flower specimen or award slide, if sufficiently diagnostic, of the contested plant be sent to a specialist in that genus. If the identification by that specialist is different, it shall supersede that of a generalist and the award record shall be corrected or the award rescinded.
- An award may be challenged for up to five (5) years
following the award's appearance in the Awards Quarterly or AQ Plus. A challenged older award will be considered at the discretion of the task force considering the challenges.
- survey results and the JC-WTF's recommendation shall be reported to the JC which shall independently render a decision to let stand, correct, or rescind an award to a contested plant. A CBR shall be rescinded when a prior CBR has been given to the taxon as corrected. A CHM shall be rescinded when the cultivar cannot be distinguished as different in character from a cultivar with a prior CHM.
- a paid award fee shall be refunded in the event of rescission.
- An award made to a cultivar which has previously received a higher award shall be nullified by the awards registrar.
- An award which is not accompanied by an adequate description of the flower and plant may be nullified by the Awards Registrar.
5.6 Judging at Orchid Shows
- AOS judging at orchid shows refers only to judging by
certified, senior and emeritus judges for AOS awards according
to the same rules that apply at monthly judging sessions. AOS
award judging is independent of general judging of the show. Any
certified, senior or emeritus judge must be permitted to judge
even if an invitation has not been extended to the judge. An
organization must be affiliated with AOS to request AOS judging.
- Occasionally an orchid show receives major support
from two AOS judging centers, either of which could be the
center of jurisdiction. In such instances the host society
can obtain co-center judging support. This would require
- The host society must provide financial and administrative support for operation of both centers.
- The host society must include both centers in its application for AOS judging of the specific show in question. The chairs of both centers must agree that significant support from each center is anticipated and should attest to this by signing the show application.
- The host society must designate which center would handle the administrative responsibilities of the show including submitting the show data and awards to AOS and following up any provisional awards. The show statistics would also be credited to this center. Generally the center that traditionally had been responsible for the show would be so designated.
- Judges from both centers of a co-center supported AOS show shall receive credit for participating in a show within the area served by the judges' own center ("in-center judging")
5.6.1 American Orchid Society
Sanction of a Show
An Affiliated Society wishing AOS judging at a show must, in this
- Appoint an accredited judge, not necessarily from the center
of jurisdiction, or a senior or emeritus judge from the center
of jurisdiction, to be approved by the chair of the center of
jurisdiction to serve as chair of AOS judging of the show (See
paragraph 3.9). The judge should be asked to serve and consulted
well in advance of four months before the show. Probationary
judges and judges on leave may not serve as an AOS judging chair
at AOS-sanctioned orchid shows.
- Secure commitments to judge from at least four other
certified judges, of which at least three are accredited. A list
of American Orchid Society judges is published on the AOS
website and in AQ Plus. A copy of that list may be obtained from
the center chair. Judges need not be from the center of
- Having secured a proposed chair of AOS judging and at least
four other judges, submit a request for a show date to the local
center chair or designated administrative chair, in writing or
via email, at least four months prior to the proposed show date
When an affiliate requests approval with less than 4 months
advance notice, the center chair can grant approval if the show
papers are in order and the required fees have been paid.
- If the date is approved, the center chair, or designated
administrative chair, will send either hard copy or electronic
show approval packet, which includes application form,
photographic requirements, and other essential information to
the show chair, including a declaration that the society has a
copy of the current version of AQ Plus available for the use of
its show committee and agrees to abide by the rules for AOS
judging as set forth in AQ Plus.
- Once the application form is completed, it must be
forwarded to the center chair or designated administrative
- The approved application, signed by the center chair or
designated administrative chair, will then be forwarded to the
AOS Awards Registrar by the Center Chair or designated
- The required fees, for the judging supplies and the show
trophy, if desired, must be submitted either to the center chair
or designated administrative chair, or directly to the AOS
Awards Registrar, as directed by the center chair or designated
administrative chair. When all applications have been submitted
and all fees paid, the Awards Registrar will notify the center
chair or designated administrative chair and the Show Chair of
For a show to qualify it must be open to
the public (not necessarily without charge) and
open to all exhibitors who agree to comply with
the rules established by the show committee and
insofar as space allows. If ribbon judging is to
be performed by specifically invited persons,
scheduling must allow reasonable access time to
the show, prior to AOS judging, for AOS judges
to consider their selection for the AOS show
trophy and plant nominations for further
In requesting AOS judging, the show committee
obligates itself to have available at least one
computer with the latest edition of AQ Plus. It
would be best if there were a computer to
support each judging team. This may be the
Society's own computer or they may arrange for
one or more judges to bring a computer with the
latest edition of AQ Plus.
In requesting AOS judging, the show committee
obligates itself to assume responsibility for
assigning a competent photographer at the show's
expense to provide the required photographs and
to inform the photographer who takes the
official photographs of awarded orchid flowers,
that by so doing, permission is given to the AOS
to use the submitted photographic items for its
purposes and programs. The show committee may
not charge the exhibitor of an awarded plant a
fee to recoup photography or other expenses, nor
shall donations for such be implied as mandatory
The show committee is not required to arrange
its show-dates to avoid conflict with other
shows, local or distant, although it may be a
worthwhile consideration (see Part II,
Exhibition, for advice). The primary
responsibility for securing adequate AOS
personnel to serve the show's AOS-judging needs
on any date rests with the show committee.
International Affiliated Societies wishing AOS
judging at a show must follow the same rules and
regulations as USA affiliated societies. The
show committee is required to appoint an
accredited judge approved by the chair of the
center of jurisdiction to serve as chair of AOS
judging of the show. An AOS accredited national
judge may serve in his country as chair of AOS
judging if the chair of the center of
jurisdiction approves. All paperwork shall go
through the center of jurisdiction (See
5.6.2 Judging Supplies
The judging supplies for AOS authorized orchid shows
include the following:
- Entry forms.
- Ballots for the AOS show trophy.
- Judging summary sheets.
- Score sheets for all point scales.
- Award seals for all types of awards.
- Awards photography guidelines, SITF
measurement forms and information sheets and
other ancillary material.
5.6.3 Chair of Judging Activities
It is necessary for the show to have a chair of judging
activities. As a member of the show committee he/she is responsible
for seeing that the committee takes timely action with regard to
securing AOS sanction of the show and that the judging kit is
returned promptly to AOS.
5.6.4 Chair of
The chair of AOS judging has the following responsibilities:
- Organize and assign the teams of judges, designating one
member as captain of each team.
- Present the judging summary sheets for all judges,
student judges, and show photographer to sign. Signatures
must be legible to assure attendance credit.
- Make sure that all awarded flowers and plants have been
properly researched, measured, described, and photographed
- Complete, sign, and return all summary sheets to the
approving judging center chair for review and forwarding to
the AOS awards registrar.
- Require all judges to perform in a creditable manner.
- Encourage judges to invite visiting judges from other
countries to participate in AOS judging activities, without
including their scores in averaging points for AOS awards.
Decision of AOS Judging Chair is Final
Any questions about the judging process or the
decisions of the judging teams shall be raised
with the show chair and the chair of AOS judging
before the termination of the judging session.
The decision of the chair of AOS judging shall
6.1 Purpose and Granting of Awards
AOS awards are designed to encourage and to recognize meritorious achievement in all fields of orchid endeavor. To accomplish this, awards are granted to individual persons, individual orchid plants, groups of orchid plants, cut flowers, and orchid arrangements, all in accordance with established rules. Wherever the granting of such awards is determined by use of point scores, the appropriate point scale shall be used. Awards granted to individual plants are made to a particular cultivar, which must be designated by a permanent cultivar name and the award (or highest award if there are two or more), although only the originally judged portion receives a certificate. The Certificate of Cultural Excellence or Certificate of Cultural Merit will not be awarded to an orchid cultivar but to the exhibitor of the plant, and becomes a part of the plant record. Divisions of the cultivar bear the cultivar name but not the designation of CCE or CCM.
Awards are granted either by the Board of Trustees, in the case of the Special Annual Awards, or by AOS judges in the form of signed certificates in the case of all flower, arrangement or exhibit awards except the Certificate of Meritorious Arrangement. The AOS Show Trophy is also awarded by AOS judges. Awards may be made only in accordance with the rules in this Handbook in the following situations:
- At regional or international orchid congresses and conferences, if the show is sanctioned by the AOS.
- At judging centers or supplemental judging centers.
- At AOS-sanctioned shows of Affiliated Societies.
- At overseas orchid shows sanctioned by the AOS, in which certified AOS judges conduct the award judging.
6.2 Awards for Individual Plants (and Special Groups of Plants)
6.2.1 First Class Certificate (FCC)
Awarded to an orchid species or hybrid which scores 90 points or more on the point scales in paragraphs 7.2.1 through 7.2.10.
6.2.2 Award of Merit (AM)
Awarded to an orchid species or hybrid which scores between 80 and 89 points inclusive on the point scales in paragraphs 7.2.1 through 7.2.10.
6.2.3 Highly Commended Certificate (HCC)
Awarded to an orchid species or hybrid which scores between 75 and 79 points inclusive on the point scales in paragraphs 7.2.1 through 7.2.10.
6.2.4 Judges' Commendation (JC)
Awarded to flowers or plants, individually or in groups, for a distinctive characteristic or aspect of historical or other importance which, in the opinion of the judges, is worthy of recognition. Judges' Commendations must record the specific values for which the award is given. Granted without scoring by an affirmative vote of at least 75 percent of the judging team assigned.
6.2.5 Award of Distinction (AD)
Awarded once to a cross, exhibited individually or collectively, representing a worthy new direction in breeding. The award is granted unanimously without scoring by the judging team assigned. The specific values for which this award is granted must be recorded by the judging team. If the hybridizer and exhibitor are different, each shall receive a certificate. The Award of Distinction is not given a cultivar name.
6.2.6 Award of Quality (AQ)
Awarded once to a strain (the result of a mating of specific cultivars), exhibited by a single individual as a group of not less than l2 different clones or the inflorescences thereof, of a raised species or hybrid, which may or may not have been made before, when the result is of sufficient improvement over the former type. The parental cultivar epithets and the hybridizer of this strain, (not necessarily the registrant of the hybrid), must be provided by the exhibitor upon entry. At least one cultivar of the exhibited strain must receive, or have received, a flower quality award. It is granted unanimously without scoring by the judging team assigned. The specific values for which this award is granted must be recorded by the judging team. If the hybridizer and exhibitor are different, each shall receive a certificate. The Award of Quality is not given a cultivar name.
6.2.7 Certificate of Cultural Excellence (CCE)
Awarded to the exhibitor of a specimen plant of robust health and appearance with an unusually large number of flowers. The plant must have been in the care of the exhibitor at least 12 months immediately prior to the award. The plant must score at least 90 points on the point scale in paragraph 7.3.1.
6.2.8 Certificate of Cultural Merit (CCM)
Awarded to the exhibitor of a specimen plant of robust health and appearance with an unusually large number of flowers. The plant must have been in the care of the exhibitor at least 12 months immediately prior to the award. The plant must score between 80 and 89 points inclusive on the point scale in paragraph 7.3.1.
6.2.9 Certificate of Horticultural Merit (CHM)
Awarded to a cultivar of a species, subspecies or natural hybrid with outstanding esthetic appeal that contributes to the horticultural aspects of orchidology. The entire plant must be exhibited and not just the inflorescence and the plant and flowers displayed should be in good condition and have sufficient flowers to judge the horticultural merit of the plant. This certificate may be awarded more than once if a plant has characteristics significantly desirable and different from other awarded cultivars. The distinctive features of the cultivar must be clearly described, measurements recorded and the country of origin should be noted, if known. The award should not be granted to a cultivar, which has previously received a Certificate of Botanical Merit (an award that has been discontinued). A score of at least 80 points on the point scale in paragraph 7.3.2 is required. This award is granted provisionally and filed with the judging center chair pending identification from SITF. Although taxonomic verification need not be presented prior to an award being granted, if it was previously obtained, it should be accepted when the plant is judged. Once an award has been cleared it will be allowed to stand, regardless of subsequent name changes resulting from taxonomic changes or award challenges. If such verification is not received within one year, the judging center chair must disallow the award unless there is satisfactory evidence that the question of verification is being actively pursued by a taxonomist. A species or natural hybrid shall not receive, at the same judging, a CBR and a CHM.
6.2.10 Certificate of Botanical Recognition (CBR)
Awarded to a cultivar of a species, subspecies, variety or natural hybrid deemed especially worthy of recognition for rarity, novelty or educational value previously unrecorded by AOS. The entire plant must be exhibited and not just the inflorescence. The plant need have no special horticultural value. The CBR is not a lesser award than the CHM, but is granted for different reasons. No award of any kind may have previously been made to the taxon. A taxon may be granted a second CBR only to correct a clear taxonomic error in the record and the description of such an award should clearly state the reason for the second award. Once an award has been cleared it will be allowed to stand, regardless of subsequent name changes resulting from taxonomic changes or award challenges. No point scale is used, but the award shall be granted only by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the judging team assigned. Full description, measurements, country of origin, if known, and the name of the taxonomic authority must be supplied on the summary sheet since the plant, by definition of the award, has not previously been described in AOS records. This award is granted provisionally and filed with the judging center chair pending identification by SITF. Although taxonomic verification need not be presented prior to an award being granted, if it was previously obtained, it should be accepted when the plant is judged. If such verification is not received within one year, the judging center chair must disallow the award unless there is satisfactory evidence that the question of verification is being actively pursued by a taxonomist. Taxonomic verifications should acknowledge the name under which the species has been previously known if that differs from the botanically correct name. A species or natural hybrid shall not receive, at the same judging, a CBR and a CHM.
6.2.11 Special Annual Awards
These are monetary awards, except for the Ann and Phil Jesup Trophy, given annually by the Board of Trustees. Nominations for these awards may be made by each center committee and forwarded to the chair of the JC at least 60 days prior to the fall meeting of the Board of Trustees. Each winner shall receive an appropriate, signed award certificate. All awards must have been cleared (paid for) before they can be eligible for these Special Annual Awards.
22.214.171.124 The Ann and Phil Jesup Botanical Trophy
The Ann and Phil Jesup Botanical Trophy is a trophy awarded to the grower of the orchid species plant which is regarded as the most outstanding orchid species whose award was officially recorded during the previous calendar year. The award was established in 2002 and endowed by donations to honor Ann and Phil Jesup.
126.96.36.199 The Butterworth Prize
The Butterworth Prize is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of orchid culture to have been awarded a Certificate of Cultural Excellence or Certificate of Cultural Merit during the preceding calendar year. This, the first of the AOS' permanently endowed awards, was provided in l966 through the gift to the AOS from Mrs. Rachel Butterworth Dietz in memory of her parents, John and Nancy Butterworth, and of George Butterworth, past president of the AOS.
188.8.131.52 The W. W. Wilson Award
The W. W. Wilson Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of the Cypripedium Alliance whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year. The award was established in 1990 and endowed by donations to honor William W. Wilson, MD.
184.108.40.206 The Masatoshi Miyamoto Award
The Masatoshi Miyamoto Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of the Cattleya Alliance whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year. The award was established in 1991 and endowed by donations to honor Mr. Masatoshi Miyamoto.
220.127.116.11 The Herbert Hager Award
The Herbert Hager Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of the genera Phalaenopsis, Doritis and their intergenerics, whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year. The award was established in 1992 and endowed by donations to honor Mr. Herbert Hager.
18.104.22.168 The Carlyle A. Luer Award
The Carlyle A. Luer Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of the Pleurothallid Alliance whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year. The award was established in 1992 and endowed by donations to honor Carlyle A. Luer, MD.
22.214.171.124 The Merritt W. Huntington Award
The Merritt W. Huntington Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding flower to have been awarded a First Class Certificate (FCC) during the preceding calendar year. No judging center nominations are necessary for this award as all FCCs are eligible. The award was established in 1992 and endowed by donations to honor Mr. Merritt W. Huntington.
126.96.36.199 The Roy T. Fukumura Award
The Roy T. Fukumura Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of the following whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year: the genus Vanda, those genera in the subtribe Aeridinae (=Sarcanthinae) which hybridize with Vanda, and their intergeneric hybrids, excluding those genera covered by the Hager award. The award was established in 1993 and endowed by donations to honor Mr. Roy T. Fukumura.
188.8.131.52 The James and Marie Riopelle Award
The James and Marie Riopelle Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant , either species, intersectional hybrid or intrasectional hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of Miltonia/Miltoniopsis whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year. The award was established in 1993, endowed by Mr. and Mrs. James H. Riopelle, and augmented by donations to honor them.
184.108.40.206 The Robert B. Dugger Award
The Robert B. Dugger Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of the genus Odontoglossum or hybrid with Odontoglossum in its parentage whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year. The award was established in 1995 and endowed by donations to honor Mr. Robert B. Dugger.
220.127.116.11 The Benjamin Kodama Award
The Benjamin Kodama Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of the Dendrobium Alliance whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year. The award was established in 1996 and endowed by donations to honor Mr. Benjamin Kodama.
18.104.22.168.The Fred Hillerman Award
The Fred Hillerman Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of the Angraecoid Alliance whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year. The award was established in 2000 and endowed by donations to honor Mr. Fred Hillerman.
22.214.171.124 The Benjamin C. Berliner Award
The Benjamin C. Berliner Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of the genus Lycaste or its closely allied genera whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year. The award was established in 2000 and endowed by donations to honor Benjamin C. Berliner, M.D.
126.96.36.199 The Milton Carpenter Award
The Milton Carpenter Intergeneric Oncidiinae Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, regarded the most outstanding example of intergeneric hybridizing within the Oncidiinae alliance whose award was officially recorded during the previous calendar year. A plant may be simultaneously eligible for the Carpenter, Dugger or Riopelle Awards; however the plant may not win more than one of these Awards. The award was established in 2005 and endowed by donations to honor Mr. Milton Carpenter, commercial grower, hybridizer, past president of the AOS, and one of the truly great ambassadors for the hobby.
188.8.131.52 The Ernest Hetherington Award
The Ernest Hetherington Cymbidium Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either standard, miniature or novelty hybrid, or species, regarded as the most outstanding example of the Cymbidium Alliance whose award was officially recorded in the previous calendar year. The award was established in 2006 and endowed by donations from the Cymbidium Society of America to honor Mr. Ernest Hetherington.
184.108.40.206 The Bill Thoms Award
The Bill Thoms Award is given to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, which is regarded as the most outstanding example of the Bulbophyllinae Subtribe whose award was officially recorded during the preceding calendar year. The award was established in 2007 and endowed by donations to honor Mr. Bill Thoms.
6.3 Awards for Display of Plants, Flowers and Educational Material
6.3.1 Gold Certificate
The Gold Certificate shall not be limited in number at any show. Criteria are as follows:
The Gold Certificate shall be awarded to the exhibit that wins the AOS Show Trophy if the average of all scores is at least 90 points. Any accredited judge may nominate another exhibit(s) for a Gold Certificate to be scored according to the Point Scale used for the AOS Show Trophy, paragraph 7.3.3, and all eligible judges or, in a large show, where there are many judges, an appointed team of at least five accredited judges may score it. Any exhibit that is scored an average of at least 90 points on this Point Scale shall be awarded a Gold Certificate.
An exhibit or group of orchid plants or cut-flower exhibit may also be nominated by an accredited judge for a Gold Certificate on the basis that it is exceptional, unique or worthy of high recognition but that it does not meet the usual requirements of the Show Trophy. Educational value and creativity may be part of the consideration. It is preferable that all eligible judges vote; however, in a large show the chairman may appoint a team of at least five judges to vote on the nomination. A Gold Certificate shall be awarded by a positive vote by at least ¾ of those voting. An award description shall be written that describes the reasons for this prestigious award.
6.3.2 AOS Show Trophy
- A trophy intended to encourage the improvement of the standards of exhibits will be made available upon request to the AOS to any show staged by an affiliated society within or outside the United States, which has conformed to the procedures in paragraph 5.6.1 for securing AOS sanction for the show, including the exclusive use of AOS judges for award judging. It is intended that this trophy encourage excellence by recognizing in competition the best collective material meritoriously displayed in public exhibition (see 7.4 Principles of Design). Only one trophy may be awarded at a show. The awarding of the trophy shall not be obligatory. The pooling of resources by groups or individuals is permitted. The following regulations apply:
- All certified senior and emeritus judges present may participate in the decision whether or not to award the trophy with the exception of judges who must disqualify themselves [see paragraph 4.8 (2)] and the chair of AOS judging, whose vote is reserved to break a tie in accordance with paragraph (4). Should the chair of AOS judging be similarly disqualified, the eligible judges shall elect one of their number to be held in reserve to break any tie.
- In the event that fewer than 3 judges are eligible to vote, the following procedure should apply. Each judge present may nominate one choice for best exhibit excluding his/her own exhibit. All nominations must be signed to qualify. Those judges whose exhibits are not nominated may participate in the trophy balloting process, which shall follow the procedure in 6.3.2(4) and (5).
- All exhibits entered in a show shall be considered eligible for the AOS Show Trophy, except in the case of 6.3.2(2) above, when only the nominated exhibits are eligible. All displays should have orchids as the focal point. The use of foliage is encouraged and an occasional non orchid flower(s) that is not a focal point should not disqualify the display. Each judge voting must submit a ballot in favor of the one exhibit he/she scores highest (as least 80 points) on point scale 7.3.3, or note "No Award" on the ballot if no exhibit scores at least 80 points. All ballots must be signed to qualify.
- For any exhibit to win the trophy, two-thirds of the judges present and voting must vote in favor of some exhibit. If more than one-third of the voting judges vote "No Award", the trophy shall not be awarded. The exhibit which receives the highest number of votes shall win the trophy. If a tie in votes exists between two or more exhibits, the exhibit with the highest score shall win. If a tie still exists, the chair of AOS judging shall cast the tie breaking vote to award the trophy. If the chair is not eligible to vote, the designated reserve judge shall break the tie.
- An exhibit must be scored by each judge voting and a favorable vote must consist of a score of at least 80 points on the scale in paragraph 7.3.3. The factor of labeling shall be evaluated on completeness, correctness of names, neatness, and legibility to the viewing public.
6.3.3 AOS Show Trophy Certificate
The American Orchid Society offers a Show Trophy Certificate upon request to affiliated societies staging shows outside the United States where judging is not performed exclusively by certified AOS judges. This certificate award is intended to encourage the improvement of the standard of exhibits and may be given by persons who are recognized in their country as qualified to judge (see 7.4 Principles of Design).
6.3.4 Artistic Certificate
Awarded to an outstanding exhibit which the judges consider to be exceptionally artistic. No restriction shall be applied to the class of exhibitor, whether amateur, commercial, or professional florist. The award shall be given only upon the unanimous decision of the judging team assigned. Judges are expected to consider the exhibit with the point scale in paragraph 7.3.5 in mind (see 7.4 Principles of Design). Although actual point scoring is optional, no award should be made to an exhibit which a judge believes could not score at least 90 points.
6.3.5 Certificate of Meritorious Arrangement
Awarded to an outstanding exhibit in the flower arrangement class of a show in which orchid flowers are dominant (see 7.4 Principles of Design). This certificate is available to AOS-sanctioned shows and may be awarded by nationally accredited decorative or flower arrangement judges. If flower arrangement judges without these qualifications are used to judge flower arrangements, they may recommend an award, but a team of AOS certified judges assigned for the purpose must confirm the award. The following stipulations apply:
- There shall be no limitation on size.
- Orchids shall be dominant in the arrangement.
- Orchid flowers need not have been grown by the exhibitor.
- Corsages are considered arrangements for purposes of this award.
- The award should be given only once at any show.
- If nationally accredited flower show judges make the award, this fact shall be noted and authenticated by the chair on the summary sheet.
- Photographic records are not required.
6.3.6 Educational Exhibit Certificate
Awarded to an educational exhibit that furthers the knowledge and education of the public regarding orchids. Consideration should also be given to displays that further conservation awareness. The following regulations apply:
- The decision whether or not to award this certificate shall be made by a judging team assigned for the purpose.
- An exhibit must receive a score of at least 80 points using the point scales in paragraph 7.3.4.
- An exhibit shall receive this award only once; however, there is no limit to the number of Educational Exhibit Certificates which may be awarded at any one show.
In judging exhibits which further conservation awareness, the judging team is encouraged to consider the exhibit and its message in light of the AOS Conservation Policy, as adopted by the Trustees in October, 1989, as follows:
"Preservation and protection of orchids and their habitats throughout the world are among the primary goals of the AOS. The AOS encourages and engages in worthwhile activities to these ends, including but not limited to:
— Propagation and cultivation of orchid species to maintain a diverse gene pool, especially for endangered species.
— Formalization of procedures to ensure the protection and maintenance of orchid species in private and research collections where neglect endangers the plants.
— Development and dissemination of proper cultural information for species to ensure their survival and propagation.
— Support the development of national parks and nature preserves worldwide.
— Salvage and rescue of orchid species and other flora where preservation is not possible or practical.
— Management of orchid habitats, endangered or not."
6.3.7 Silver Certificate
The Silver Certificate shall be awarded to the exhibit that wins the AOS Show Trophy if the average of all scores is between 85 and 89 points. Any accredited judge may nominate another exhibit(s) for a Silver Certificate to be scored according to the Point Scale used for the AOS Show Trophy, paragraph 7.3.3, and all eligible judges or, in a large show, where there are many judges, an appointed team of at least five accredited judges may score it. Any exhibit that is scored an average of at between 85 and 89 points on this Point Scale shall be awarded a Silver Certificate.
An exhibit or group of orchid plants or cut-flower exhibit may also be nominated by an accredited judge for a Silver Certificate on the basis that it is exceptional, unique or worthy of high recognition but that it does not meet the usual requirements of the Show Trophy. Educational value and creativity may be part of the consideration. It is preferable that all eligible judges vote; however, in a large show the chairman may appoint a team of at least five judges to vote on the nomination. A Silver Certificate shall be awarded by a positive vote by at least ¾ of those voting. An award description shall be written that describes the reasons for this prestigious award.
The purpose of judging quality is to recognize superiority and improvement in extraordinary orchid flowers rather than recognizing commonplace characteristics. In scoring for quality awards (i.e. for HCC, AM and FCC), judges should consider and apply equally the following three principles:
- the hypothetical standard of perfection, at the time;
- the qualities and merits of previously awarded or known plants of comparable type, breeding or characteristics; and
- the extent to which any quality or characteristic of the plant represents an advance over what has been witnessed heretofore and thereby establishes a new standard for the future. In this connection, new lines of breeding, including new shapes, colors or growth habit, should be considered but should not be awarded unless the new line has superior characteristics and quality. Awards appropriate for new lines of breeding or species, are the JC, AD, CHM and CBR.
The General point Scale may be used for any genus of orchids, especially those that do not have a specifically designated scale. Should the specific criteria, outlined in the point scales that follow, not match the flower being judged, then the general scale should be used. Where doubt exists, use the general scale.
7.1.2 Cattleya and Allied Genera
The general form of the flower is toward fullness and roundness. A circle, drawn with the base of the column as the center, should touch the tips of the petals and sepals and the margin of the lip, while the flower should fill the greater proportion of the area of the circle Sepals should be broad and fill in the gap between the petals and the lip. Petals should be erect to slightly arched, broad and rounded, frilled, or undulated at the margins according to the variety. The lip should be proportionate to the petals with a rounded, flattened, symmetrical, and crisped or frilled trumpet or isthmus in accordance with its background; it should be closed toward the base and more or less rolled around the column. Hybrids containing Rhyncholaelia generally have lips larger than the petals. Most cattleyas have lips slightly larger to slightly smaller than the petals, depending on the ancestral species used. The entire flower should be nearly flat when viewed from the side, the lip curving down and not jutting out at right angles to the plane of the petals and sepals.
The color of the flower should be clear, bright and strong, evenly dispersed throughout the petals and sepals without "washing out" at the mid-veins. The hue should be consistent with the parentage or an unusual shade, without spotting, breaking or splashing, except where a balanced and harmonious pattern exists. The lip should be more prominently and richly colored, blending or pleasingly contrasting with the rest of the flower. Additional markings, if present, should form a symmetrical pattern.
The size of the flower should be equal to or greater than the geometric mean of the size of the parents. The potential of the species in size may already have been established by fine forms discovered in their natural habitats. In bifoliate crosses, the size of the flowers and the width of the petals will be less than in pure Cattleya labiata crosses because of the differences in the species involved. Substance of a high degree is now standard through polyploid forms. Texture should be sparkling, crystalline, velvety or waxy.
Floriferousness is closely related to parental background and size of flowers. While cattleyas with one exceptional flower may be judged, labiata-type cattleyas should have two or more flowers to be considered. In crosses involving bifoliate cattleyas, several flowers would have to be produced to warrant consideration, depending on the ancestry involved. The stem should be strong and upright to display the flowers to their best advantage, so that one flower does not crowd and distort another. The inflorescence should be mature enough to show the full potential of the flower or flowers.
Use the General scale when judging non-labiate species and their hybrids.
The general form of the flower is toward roundness and fullness, as in Cattleya but not to the same degree. Some fine cultivars have a more open, star like appearance, and other good forms are somewhat cupped. Excessive cupping, however, is a fault. The lip usually does not extend to the line of a circle; neither does the dorsal sepal, due to its being curved forward or hooded. The sepals should fill the gaps between the petals and lip. The petals usually make an inverted, broadly based isosceles triangle with the lip; they should be broad, slightly arched with a minimum of narrowing toward the tips. The lip should be proportionately sized, the side lobes being more or less erect and the front lobe curved gracefully but not strongly turned under, narrowed or pinched.
The color of the flower should be definite and clear. Suffusion of one color over another should be regular and harmonious, not mottled or muddy. Venation with color, if present, should be definite and distinctive, or in regular lines and patterns. The lip should be as distinctively colored as the sepals and petals, with markings in definite and distinctive patterns. The throat and crests should be clear white or brightly colored.
The size of the flower should be equal to or greater than the geometric mean of the size of the parents. Substance should be equal to or greater than the average of the parents. The inflorescence should be erect or gracefully arching according to the ancestral species, with the flowers well spaced and well displayed. The number of flowers will vary according to the variety and breeding. The inflorescence should be mature enough to show the full potential of the flower or flowers. Non-standard cymbidiums should be judged using the General Scale.
The genus Dendrobium is extremely large and diverse so that general criteria for all species and hybrids cannot be stated. The flowers presented for judging generally fall into one of three categories. In judging species and hybrids of the form typified by Dendrobium nobile, the criteria used in judging Cattleya flowers would apply. In judging species and hybrids of the form typified by Dendrobium Phalaenopsis and Dendrobium bigibbum, the criteria used in judging flowers of the genus Phalaenopsis would apply. In judging those dendrobiums that have petals and sepals more or less equal to each other, the chief criterion is improvement over the ancestral species using the Dendrobium point scale in paragraph 7.2.4. The inflorescence should be mature enough to show the full potential of the flower or flowers. .
7.1.5 Miltonia (Miltoniopsis)
The general form of the flower is toward fullness, roundness and flatness. The sepals and petals should be equal to each other and may be slightly reflexed. The lip should be predominantly large, symmetrical and not too deeply notched. Color should be definite, clear and unblemished. The mask, if present, should be symmetrical and well-defined. The inflorescence should be gracefully arching, with the flowers well spaced and well displayed. The point scale for Miltonia is designed for use in scoring Miltonia, Oncidium, Odontoglossum and similar genera whose flowers have lips which are the dominant feature. For other types of miltonias, etc., flowers of which have lips that are proportionate to the petals and sepals, the Odontoglossum point scale should be used. The inflorescence should be mature enough to show the full potential of the flower or flowers.
The general form of the flower is toward roundness, fullness and flatness, tending to fit within a circle as in Cattleya. The color of the flower must be definite and clear, in well-defined patterns. Size of flower should be equal to or greater than the geometric mean of the size of the parents. Substance should be equal to or greater than the average of the parents. The habit of the inflorescence may be simple or branching with flowers well spaced and well displayed. Floriferousness is closely related to parental background. The inflorescence should be mature enough to show the full potential of the flower or flowers.
The Odontoglossum point scale is designed primarily for the crispum-type odontoglossums, odontiodas, vuylstekearas, oncidiums, miltonias, and similar orchid flowers that have lips approximately equal in size to the petals and sepals. For large-lipped forms, score by the Miltonia point scale.
The great variety of paphiopedilums currently grown, from species to primary hybrids to the modern complex hybrids, makes uniformly applicable criteria impossible to define.
The majority of judged paphiopedilums are those having a single flower on an upright stem; these are scored using the Paphiopedilum point scale in paragraph 7.2.7. Those having several flowers on an upright or arching inflorescence are commonly termed multifloral paphiopedilums and should be scored according to the General Point Scale in paragraph 7.2.1, as their floriferousness and arrangement of inflorescence are of substantial importance.
In the judging of species and those hybrids with parentage near to the species, the general criterion is improvement over the ancestral type(s). The natural spread of flowers with long pendulous petals depends on the angle at which the petals are held, and the horizontal and vertical dimensions should be recorded.
The appearance of complex hybrids is the result of many generations of selective breeding that have obscured the contributions of the many species in their ancestry. The desired form of complex hybrid flowers is round, or broadly oval, with particular emphasis upon fullness, balance and proportion. The dorsal sepal should be large, rounded, slightly concave and not reflexed. The petals should be broad, and their length should be in proportion to the rest of the flower. The pouch should be full, in proportion and not protrude excessively forward. The synsepal should afford a harmonious background for the pouch; a split synsepal is not in itself a defect if its effect on the overall appearance of the flower is pleasing. The stem should be proportionately tall and strong, holding the flower well above the foliage. The color of the flower should be clear and definite in well-defined areas and patterns, or harmoniously suffused, according to breeding. Due to polyploidy, substance in complex paphiopedilums is generally heavy, and is now expected as a necessary feature. Texture should be waxy or varnished. Size is based on the overall spread of the flower, with emphasis on the width of the dorsal sepal. The inflorescence should be mature enough to show the full potential of the flower or flowers.
The general form of the flower is toward roundness, fullness and flatness. The dorsal sepal should tend to be somewhat larger and broader than the lateral sepals. The petals should be broad and flat, filling in the gap between the sepals. The lip will vary according to variety and breeding. The color should be definite and clear. Markings, when present, should be pleasing. The lip should be distinctively marked or colored. Substance should be equal to or greater than the average of the parents.
The size of the flower should be equal to or greater than the geometric mean of the size of the parents. The inflorescence should be gracefully arching with the flowers well spaced and well displayed according to breeding. The number of flowers will vary according to the species, or breeding. The inflorescence should be mature enough to show the full potential of the flower or flowers. The General Scale should be used where the flower under consideration does not meet the above criteria.
The Pleurothallidinae are extremely diverse, so general criteria for all species and hybrids cannot be given. Some plants, especially members of the section Coccineae of the genus Masdevallia, have flowers of striking colors and relatively flat form. Often the sepals are relatively broad in this group, and the desired form is toward fullness and, in some taxa, roundness. In other pleurothallids, the sepals may be very narrow, twisted or otherwise unusual. In addition, the form may be cup-shaped, bowl-shaped or even tubular. Ideally, the edges of the sepals should not reflex nor should the sepals be asymmetrically twisted, particularly in hybrids. Caudae may be short or elongated, depending on type, and may extend outward or be crossed. What is important is the overall aesthetic appearance of the caudae to the general form of the flower. Caudae and sepals may reflex; however, the generally desired trait is for no (or minimal) reflexing. The prominent parts of the flower are generally the sepals and the sepaline tube. Petals and labella are usually quite insignificant.
Colors are as varied as form in pleurothallids. Some species have brilliant colors while others are quite drab. The color of the flower should be clear. Suffusion of one color over another should be regular and harmonious, not muddy or blotched. Stripes, spots or blotches, if present, should be distinct. These should never detract from the overall attractiveness of the flower. Hairs, if present, should enhance the overall appearance of the flower.
The size of the flower in hybrids should be equal to or greater than the geometric mean of the size of the parents. It is critical that vertical, as well as horizontal, spread be recorded, as vertical dimensions are critical in judging size in many species and hybrids. For tubular flowers, floral depth (and/or sepaline tube length) can be useful information. In hybrids, the inflorescence may be erect or not, depending on the ancestral species; although, at all times the scape should be long enough and strong enough to display the flowers well.
Normally, pleurothallids are floriferous, and this should be considered when determining the floriferousness of any plant. Texture of the flowers varies considerably, from glossy to matte, depending on ancestral species. The inflorescence should be mature enough to show the full potential of the flower or flowers.
Pleurothallidinae without caudae and others flowers not matching the above criteria should be judged using the General Scale.
The general form of the flower is toward roundness, fullness and flatness. The dorsal sepal should be as nearly equal to the lateral sepals as possible. The petals should be broad and rounded, as nearly equal to the dorsal sepal as possible, and should fill the gap between the sepals. The lip should be harmonious with the rest of the flower in size and shape, in accordance with the ancestral species. The spur or nectary, if present, should be harmonious and compatible with the ancestral species. The color of the flower should be definite and clear; suffusion of one color over another should be regular and harmonious, not mottled or muddy. Colored venation, if present, should be definite and distinctive, or in regular lines and patterns. The lip should be distinctively colored. The size of the flower should be equal to or greater than the geometric mean of the size of the parents. Substance should be equal to or greater than the average of the parents.
The inflorescence should be erect or gracefully arched according to parental background, with the flowers well spaced and well displayed. The number of flowers will vary according to the species or the breeding. The inflorescence should be mature enough to show the full potential of the flower or flowers.
Non-Euanthe type hybrids and species should be judged using the General Scale.
7.2 Point Scales for AOS Awards - Flower Quality
The appropriate point scale is used to record the judges' evaluation of various qualities being judged.
7.3 Point Scale for AOS Awards - Other
The following point scales are used for evaluating factors other than flower quality:
7.3.1 Cultural Merit or Excellence
Size and condition of plant - 50
Floriferousness - 30
Condition of bloom - 20
Total Points - 100
7.3.2 Horticultural Merit
Flower characteristics - 36
Form - (12)
Color - (12)
Size - (12)
Plant characteristics - 36
Robustness - (12)
Condition - (12)
Floriferousness - (12)
Other characteristics - 28
Aesthetic appeal - (28)
Total Points - 100
7.3.3 Groups of Plants or Cut Flowers Arranged for Effect
This point scale is used for judging exhibits for the AOS Show Trophy and Show Trophy Certificate (paragraphs 6.3.2 and 6.3.3) and for the Gold Certificate for Groups, Collections or Cut Flower Exhibits (paragraph 6.3.1). For additional information, see paragraph 7.4 Principles of Design.
General arrangement (Design) - 35
Quality of flowers - 35
Variety - 20
Labeling - 10
Total Points - 100
Evaluation should be based on the following:
- General arrangement (design) of an exhibit should be evaluated using the criteria in paragraph 7.4 Principles of Design
- Quality of flowers displayed should be scored using the criteria found in paragraph 7.1 Quality and 7.1.1 through 7.1.10.
- Variety should reflect the intent of the exhibit. If it is a specialized exhibition of a single genus or alliance, then color variation, variety of the species or related hybrids, variety in form, or other factors including, possibly, high degrees of uniformity, should be considered. If it is of a general nature, containing many genera, then the numbers and/or types of genera should be considered, or the rarity of species and lesser known genera balanced against well-know genera, species and hybrids. The judges should evaluate variety in similar terms as in the principles of design, using balance between the varieties, contrast of types and dominance of any one variety of orchid as guidance. The use of foliage is encouraged and an occasional non orchid flower(s) that is not a focal point should not disqualify the display.
- Labeling shall be evaluated on completeness, correctness of names, neatness, and legibility to the viewing public. The labels should also be unobtrusive and not detract from the orchid exhibit.
7.3.4 Educational Exhibit
Educational value - 25
Effectiveness of presentation - 25
Clarity of labeling explanation - 25
Appropriateness and attractiveness of staging - 15
Originality - 10
Total Points - 100
220.127.116.11 For Use with Conservation Displays
Educational value - 20
Effectiveness of presentation - 20
Adherence to conservation ideals - 25
Clarity of labeling explanation - 10
Appropriateness and attractiveness of staging - 15
Originality - 10
Total Points 100
7.3.5 Orchid Arrangements
This point scale is designed to recognize aesthetic skill in the use of orchids rather than horticultural achievement. For additional information, see paragraph 7.4 Principles of Design.
Design - 30
Harmony - 30
Relation to container
Conformity to schedule and/or suitability of purpose - 15
Distinction - 10
Originality - 10
Condition - 5
Total Points 100
7.4 Principles of Design
Design principles are basic art standards based on natural laws. They apply to all forms of art including flower arranging and exhibiting, and are the same for all design. These principles are balance, contrast, dominance, proportion, rhythm and scale.
- Balance is visual stability. It is the result of placing equal weight on opposite sides of an imaginary central axis. The axis is always vertical because balance is related to the force of gravity. Balance should be evident when viewed from all sides. Symmetrical balance is repetition of all elements, including space, in opposite directions from the real or imaginary axis. It is attained by having the two sides as nearly alike as possible. Asymmetrical balance is equal visual weight composed of different elements, and in varying directions, about the axis. Visual weight may differ from actual weight. Asymmetrical balance has greater appeal aesthetically than symmetrical balance. There is no rule of achieving this balance. The following appear heavier: dense and bolder forms, larger sizes, darker colors and coarser textures. Their opposites appear lighter in weight. Forms have more visual weight than closed spaces, closed spaces more than open spaces. Elements higher up in the design and farther away from the axis appear heavier than those nearer the center.
- Contrast is difference. Contrast is achieved by placing opposites of unlike elements together in such a way as to emphasize difference. Contrast exists only between elements that are related in some manner. Examples: long and short both relate to dimension; light and dark to color; hot and cold to temperature. Contrast whether of size, form or color, affects design in many ways. It stimulates interest; color contrast helps to distinguish both form and space; on the other hand contrast of equals divides attention; too much contrast of too many elements results in confusion.
- Dominance is the greater force of one kind of element such as more curved lines, more round forms, or more of one hue. This may also be achieved by the use of larger forms or stronger colors. However, the largest amount does not always have the greatest effect or furnish the most interest. For something to be more effective, something else must be less effective. Thus dominance implies subordination. Subordinate interest can be provided by similar but weaker material or by contrasting material.
- Proportion is the relationship of areas and amounts to each other and to the whole. In regard to line, it is relative length; in regard to form or space, it is relative area or volume; in regard to color, it is relative magnitude: the combined effect of hue, value, intensity and texture. Nothing is too big, too much, or too little. Things are only too big, too much, or too little in relation to something else. Not all proportion is good. Good proportion is the pleasing variation of one form, part or color to another or to the whole. The golden mean, i.e., the ratio of 1 to 1.6, is pleasing to most people and serves as a good guide for the beginner; however, much greater ratios are often more interesting and distinctive.
- Rhythm is a dominant visual path through the design. Rhythm suggests motion. It may be achieved by the use of repetition or gradation in a linear direction. Repetition is achieved by repeating a shape, hue, value, direction, etc. Exact repetition is monotonous, so it should be modified, such as the use of pink for a repetition of red; or a grouping of small round forms for a repetition of a large round form, etc. Gradation is the sequence in which the adjoining parts are similar or harmonious. It implies gradual change: in size, from large to small; in weight, from heavy to light; in texture, from coarse to fine; in color, from dark to light, dull to bright, hue to hue and value to value. Successful design moves by gradation from solidity to thinness or delicacy at the extremities. Rhythm makes a design appear to be alive, rather than at rest.
- Scale is the size relationship. It is closely related to proportion. It is a minor principle, because it applies only to one element, the element of size. Repetition and variation of size are always in good scale. Contrast of size may also be in good scale. It is only when contrast of size is too great that components are out of scale.
7.5 Measurement and Description
A uniform standard for measuring and describing awarded plants and flowers is essential in providing useful records with which to compare subsequent cultivars of the same species or breeding. All measurements should be made without physical damage to the flowers and shall be expressed in centimeters (e.g., 0.6 cm, 5.4 cm, 16.0 cm). The following principles should be kept in mind:
- The purpose of measuring and describing flowers is to provide reference data for judges who are confronted with similar cultivars but who have not seen previously awarded flowers.
- Photographs and slides provide information to judges and other persons who have occasion to view them in AQ Plus or in programs developed for use by affiliated societies, but photographs by themselves do not provide adequate information.
- The description should be accurate, explaining clearly how this cultivar varies from others and what features, good and bad, have influenced the judges in reaching their decisions.
- The description should be succinct and should not repeat information which is included in the measurements or implied by the nature of the award. Terms such as 'larger than average' and 'a large well-grown plant' are redundant when measurements are also given or the award is a Certificate of Cultural Excellence or Certificate of Cultural Merit.
- Standard terminology as defined in Chapter VIII should be used.
- Since there is no standard terminology for colors, particular attention should be paid to describing colors in precise terms which will be understandable to others.
- The point scale should be reviewed to make sure that all significant characteristics have been included in the description.
- ) Special attention should be given to the descriptions and measurements of orchid species which by their nature are often small and difficult to describe clearly. This is particularly true in the case of the CBR where no previous record of the species exists in AOS records, and which serves as a benchmark for future awards.
- The responsibility for proper descriptions and measurements rests with the judging team captain.
- The recorded measurements and description should be reviewed by the chair of judging or the alternate before the summary sheets are forwarded to make sure that the information is complete and informative.
7.5.1 Overall Measurement
Both the horizontal and the vertical dimensions of a flower are recorded. The overall measurement of a flower, referred to as, the natural spread, is that measurement of the natural carriage of the flower in its maximum dimension without flattening or grooming in the horizontal plane. This measurement may be from the tips of the petals, lateral sepals or caudae, whichever is greater. The vertical measurement is likewise taken without flattening or grooming and at its maximum dimension but in the vertical plane. Often this will be from the tip of the dorsal to a imaginary line drawn across the tips of the lateral sepals or caudae.
7.5.2 Actual Measurements
- Dorsal sepal width: The dimension when the sepal is flattened into a plane.
- Dorsal sepal length: The dimension from the point of attachment to the tip along the central vein.
- Petal width and length: Same as for dorsal sepal.
- Lateral Sepal width and length: Same as for dorsal sepal. The synsepal is used for paphiopedilums.
- Lip width: The dimension when the lip is sufficiently flattened not to damage the flower.
- Lip length: The dimension from the point of its attachment to the base of the column or column foot to the tip (or to a line representing the outermost margin of the lip). Spur length is measured from its attachment to the labellum to the tip.
- Additional measurements may be necessary for species identification if the flower is submitted to the SITF. These should be recorded on the SITF information form.
- If a majority of the judging team desires, minute flower segments under 0.2 cm may be measured as hundredths of a centimeter (2 decimal points). Other components of such descriptions should be comparably accurate.
An award description is made up of various parts, or sections, which together constitute the description. The different sections are separated by semicolons and the description ends with a period. Descriptions may be separated into three sections: 1) description of the vegetative portions of the plant, including cultural condition); 2) description of the inflorescences and flowers; and 3) comments. Not every description includes all three sections. A section may be emphasized, de-emphasized, and/or left out altogether by judges as deemed appropriate.
Ambiguity is a common occurrence in award descriptions. In editing descriptions for publication it is important to note instances of ambiguity and to eliminate them whenever possible. Sometimes a telephone call to the exhibitor or to a member of the judging team will clear up the problem. If available, reference to the award slide is also helpful in resolving ambiguous descriptions. Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary to refer a description back to the Judging Center for clarification. This is a time-consuming process, which can result in significant delays in the processing of an award.
18.104.22.168 Spelling and Preferred Usage
- The three principal sections are separated by semicolons and are listed in the following sequence:
The sequence as listed above is essentially a summary of the sequence used in botanical descriptions and should be adhered to as closely as possible. Since AOS awards descriptions always begin with an enumeration of the number of flowers, buds and inflorescences, there is a long-standing and persistent tendency to describe the flowers before describing vegetative parts and culture. Description of the vegetative parts and culture is most frequently mentioned when describing cultural awards.
- Vegetative parts and culture
- Inflorescence(s) and flower(s)
- The portion of a description which concerns itself with the inflorescences and flowers is itself broken down into subsections. These subsections are also separated by semicolons and follow a strict sequence in AQ Plus. In describing the inflorescences and flowers, the sequence proceeds from the general to the specific and from the outer parts of a flower to the inner parts.
- Sequence of Floral Parts
This is a list showing the sequence in which the various parts of the description of the inflorescences and flowers are listed in AQ Plus.
*Includes callus, disk, midlobe, side lobes and throat where applicable.
- Number of Flowers
- Number of Buds
- Number of Inflorescences
- General Flower Color
- Dorsal Sepal
- Lateral Sepals or Synsepal
- Lip* or Pouch
- Spur (if applicable, belongs with the flower part to which it is attached)
- Column** or Staminode
**Includes anther cap.
- Because orchid flowers are complex both in their morphology and color patterns, sometimes it is not possible to adhere to the above sequence. When two or more floral parts are being described together, they are placed in sequence within that subsection according to the sequence shown above in (3). Each section or subsection of an award description usually begins with the name of the part being described.
Common spelling errors
tessellation.............. tesallation or tesselation
- Preferred Spelling
USE INSTEAD OF
midlobe....................mid lobe or mid-lobe
side lobes................side-lobes or sidelobes
- Preferred Usage
USE INSTEAD OF
anther cap................................pollen cap
cauda (esp. in Masdevallia).......tail
cultivar................................... variety (horticultural)
dorsal sepal.............................dorsal (meaning dorsal sepal)
inflorescence...........................spike, spray or stem
lateral sepals............................ventral sepals
lip (in nearly all genera).............labellum
margin(s) or edge(s).................periphery
parts........................................segments or tepals
pouch (in Paphiopedilum).........labellum, lip or slipper
ramicaul(s)...............................secondary stem(s) (vegetative growths)
sepaline caudae........................sepaline tails
staminode (in Paphiopedilum)...shield
synsepal (in Paphiopedilum)......ventral sepal
- Words describing color patterns ending in "ing"
USE INSTEAD OF
bars or barred.................................................barring
blotches or blotched.......................................blotching
edge(s) or edged or margin(s) or margined.......edging
mark(s) or marked (less precise)......................marking(s)
pattern or patterned.........................................patterning
spots or spotted..............................................spotting
stripes or striped.............................................striping
venation, veins or veined..................................veining
22.214.171.124 Punctuation and Numbers
- Terms describing colors should be carefully chosen to avoid confusion or ambiguity. Amaranth and raspberry are frequent sources of ambiguity.
Amaranth is a wine purple, but sometimes is confused for a yellow-green because the common roadside weed of the genus Amaranth has a peculiar yellow-green color. Also, amaranth is being developed as a minor grain crop which has green to bright yellow seed heads.
There are black, red, pink and yellow raspberries, depending on the geographic region. Therefore, the use of the word raspberry standing alone should be avoided. Raspberry, followed by the color form, is acceptable.
Certain color terms such as bois de rose, celadon green, cochineal red, garnet lake, madder red and perilla purple are unfamiliar to most AOS members and should be avoided. Overly specific color terms should also be avoided. For example, apple green suffices for Granny Smith apple green or Pippin apple green. The suffix 'ish' is colloquial and should not be used. Use green or red rather than greenish or reddish.
- Compound color terms are hyphenated according to the following rules:
A hyphen is used when a color is modified by another color, for example yellow-green, purple-blue, brown-red and rose-red. No hyphen is used when a color is modified by a noun, for example grass green, sky blue and brick red.
126.96.36.199 Taxonomic Verification and Descriptions
- ) Periods
A period marks the end of a description. Therefore, no periods should be used within the body of a description. The various parts of a description should be separated by semicolons. If it is necessary to subdivide within a section or subsection, as with the various parts of the lip, commas should be used.
Hyphens should follow common usage as indicated in a dictionary. Compound words beginning with well (such as well-held or well-presented) are always hyphenated. Compound words formed by combining a color with a color pattern should also be hyphenated, as in red-blotched, pink-spotted, purple-dotted, yellow-picoteed and violet-splashed. Fractions are also hyphenated, as in one-half, two-thirds and three-fifths.
Numbers from one through ten are always spelled out in the body of the description. Any number, no matter how large, is always spelled out if it begins a sentence. Numbers larger than ten are written as numbers. Numbers between 21 and 99 are hyphenated when spelled out. Large numbers are not hyphenated when spelled out; however, if a large number contains within it a number between 21 and 99, that part of the number is hyphenated. The word 'and' is not used when writing large numbers.
Any notes provided in the taxonomic verification of an award are to be included in the edited description. Because of the way in which provisional awards are processed, the judging team which writes the description rarely sees the taxonomic verification, which may not be obtained until many months after the award is granted. Such notes are considered part of the description because of their educational value. These should be regarded as comments and placed at the end of the description. The source of the taxonomic notes should be clearly stated along with the name of the taxonomic authority making the identification.
The words and phrases below are basic to the rules and regulations of the schedules and point scales. Their definitions have been carefully constructed for use in judging and exhibition.
8.1 Definitions of Words and Phrases Used in Judging and Exhibition
Accessories: Articles other than the plants or flowers exhibited. Accessories must be subordinate but a part of the whole. Cut foliage and foliage plants, stands and containers, backgrounds, etc., are classed as accessories.
According to variety: The judging of flowers or plants which takes into consideration the potential and limitations of the species and clones from which they stem and the effects of hybridization.
alba (or album): A term applied to an individual of a species or hybrid the flowers of which are normally colored but which in this instance lack all coloration except white or, occasionally, yellow or green in combination with white.
Amateur: One who grows his/her own plants primarily for his/her pleasure and who does not derive his/her livelihood or a substantial income therefrom.
Arranged for effect (in schedules): A manner of composing plants or cut flowers primarily to exhibit the horticultural material to best advantage, as well as to contribute to the general beauty of the show.
arrangement (in schedules): An exhibit in which flowers with or without accessories are grouped to convey an idea. (Contrary to other groups or classes, the living material is of secondary importance to the idea which it expresses.)
Arrangement of inflorescence: The manner in which flowers are displayed upon the stem.
artistic: Pleasing to the eye; conceived with taste and executed with skill. In award judging: The noncompetitive judging of plants and/or flowers for inherent quality according to established procedures.
balance (a design principle): Illusion of symmetrical or asymmetrical visual stability.
blemish: A bruise, spray discoloration, any injury by insects or disease, or any malformation detracting from the appearance of an exhibit.
Bloom: An individual flower.
botanical (in point scales): A term designating any species or natural hybrid seldom seen in cultivation, the display of which contributes to the dissemination of knowledge of orchids: in schedules, any species or genus of orchids not commonly grown commercially for its flowers.
botanical variety: A plant in nature having minor characteristics or variations which distinguish it from the typical variety of the species.
Breeder: See hybridizer.
breeding: The planned production of horticultural forms through selection, crossing and/or hybridizing.
charm: An intangible quality which gives an exhibit an especially fascinating appeal.
class: The extent of a group of entries in a show established by the show schedule.
clonal variety: A named individual which is always vegetatively propagated from a clone; a cultivar.
clone: A plant grown from a single seed and all subsequent vegetative divisions of it.
cluster: A group of several flowers growing close together on one stem.
color (in point scales): The hue, clarity, intensity, etc., of coloring in relation to the usual forms; an orderly arrangement of color areas; also novelty of coloring, if handsome and desirable.
commercial grower: One who grows plants and/or flowers for sale with or without employed help, and derives his/her livelihood or a substantial income therefrom.
Condition: The physical state of the flower or plant at the time of judging.
contrast (a design principle): Different characteristics of design elements, such as coarse/smooth, light/dark, short/long.
Cross: The mating of two different orchid clones, whether varieties, species, hybrids or genera; the progeny from such a mating.
Cultivar: An individual plant in cultivation, including its vegetative propagations and meristem propagations. (Abbreviated as cv.)
Cultivar name: A fancy (that is, non-Latin) name given to an orchid clone and set in single quotes when written or printed.
Cultural perfection: The development of plants in flower to the presumed peak of their potential.
display: An exhibit of plants and flowers for effect with emphasis on the attractiveness of the grouping.
disqualify: To remove an entry from consideration for exhibiting or judging because of some defect which is the exhibitor's fault, e.g., not conforming to schedule, use of forbidden accessories, violation of some rule in the schedule or detriment to the general quality of the show.
distinction (in point scales): A quality of excellence which places the exhibit above the usual or commonplace.
dominance (a design principle): Greater impact of some elements thereby subduing others.
eliminate: To remove from consideration of the judges an entry which for some reason (such as poor condition or lack of beauty) is detrimental to the general quality of the show or is not worthy of consideration.
Exhibit: An entry placed in a show.
Floriferousness: The degree of flower-bearing in relation to the typical.
Foliage (in schedules): Only natural foliage, ferns and other suitable foliage plants.
Form: The conformation, carriage and proportion of petals, sepals and lip, according to variety.
Genus (pl. genera): A subdivision of a family, consisting of one or more species which show similar significant characteristics and appear to have a common ancestry.
Geometric mean (of two numbers): The square root of the product of two numbers. Example: The geometric mean of 9 and 4 equals the square root of 36 which equals 6.
Grex: A flock or group, applied collectively to the progeny of a given cross.
Grex name: The fancy (that is, non-Latin) name given to a cross and to all progeny of that cross.
Habit of inflorescence (in point scales): The manner in which the inflorescence is displayed.
Horticultural variety: Any of a cultivated population of a species or interspecific hybrid group having characters by which it merits distinction from others of the same kind. (Same as cultivar.)
Hybrid: The offspring of a cross between two different species, a species and a hybrid, or two hybrids.
Hybrid genus: A category of plants derived from the combination of two or more genera.
Hybridization: The act or process of creating hybrids.
Hybridizer: The firm or individual who originates a cross and produces progeny for distribution, irrespective of ownership of parent plants or agent technically concerned in pollination, germination, etc.; the breeder.
Individual: A single plant, inflorescence or clone.
Inflorescence: Mode of flower-bearing. (For types of inflorescence, see panicle, raceme, scape, spike and umbel.)
Labeling (in point scales): The identification of the individual plants in a group exhibit by means of suitable cards or tags.
Made-up plant: A number of identical plants growing or placed together in one pot, not to be judged as a specimen plant.
Mericlone: An individual plant produced through meristem tissue culture propagation and treated as a vegetative division of the clone from which it was produced.
Meristem: Undifferentiated, actively growing cells found in certain parts of a plant; to produce individual mericlones by the technique of propagation; a mericlone.
Meritorious: A term applied to an exhibit which possesses distinct individuality and exceptional horticultural, educational or artistic value.
Naturalistic (in schedules): A type of exhibit in which the material is displayed in a manner which suggests as nearly as possible its natural growth or habitat.
Novelty: A recent introduction, a seedling or a sport, possessing unexpected but desirable qualities.
novice class (in schedules): A class in a show in which amateur exhibitors who have not yet won two blue ribbons may enter.
Open class (in schedules): A class in a show open to all exhibitors.
Originality: The quality of being independently conceived or novel but not bizarre or freakish.
outstanding exhibit: An exhibit that is prominent and striking for its design, quality and cultural perfection.
Overcrowded: A common fault resulting from the use of too much material, making it impossible to display each plant to its best advantage.
Panicle: A branching raceme, such as in Oncidium varicosum.
Private grower: One who employs others to grow or assist in growing his/her plants, but does not derive his/her livelihood or a substantial income therefrom.
Professional grower: A person who because of training and experience qualifies for horticultural employment and derives his/her livelihood therefrom.
Proportion (a design principle): Relationship of design areas (including voids) to each other within entire frame of reference.
Provisional award: A conditional award which cannot be certified for publication pending registration of a hybrid, or taxonomic verification of a species. Species considered for awards other than CBR or CHM, and previously unawarded or not identified to the satisfaction of the judging team, may also be given provisional awards.
Quality: High standard of excellence.
Raceme: An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers, as in
Cymbidium, Cattleya, Odontoglossum, etc.
Rarity (in point scales): The scarcity of such plants in general cultivation.
Rhythm (a design principle): Presence of continuous visual movement through the design.
Scale (a design principle): Measure of component size to individual design parts.
Scape: A leafless flower stalk arising from below, often with a single flower, as in Lycaste.
Seedling: Unless otherwise specified in the schedule, a plant grown from seed and flowering for the first time.
Segment: One of the parts of a leaf, flower or other structure that is cleft or divided.
Semi-alba: A term applied to a white flower that has a colored lip.
Show judging: The judging of plants and/or flowers in competition, either individually or in groups, in accordance with the rules of the show.
Size: The dimension of a flower in relation to the normal for its kind.
Species (singular and plural): A group of plants (or animals) showing intergradation among its individual members and having in common one or more significant characteristics which definitely separate it from any other group.
Specimen (in schedules): A single plant of unusual size and number of flowers for the variety, exhibiting fine culture.
Spike: A usually unbranched, elongated inflorescence of unstalked flowers. Contrasted with raceme.
Spray: This is not a botanical term (sprays are either racemes or panicles), but may be used in a horticultural sense to imply an arching effect.
Substance: The thickness and firmness of tissue in flowers.
Sweepstakes: Unless otherwise specified in the show schedule, a prize to be given to the exhibitor who receives the greatest number of first prizes or points.
Texture: The surface qualities of a flower which enhance appearance.
Umbel: An inflorescence in which the flower stalks arise from a common point, as in
Variety: 1. A given kind; a plant that varies from the type in one or more important characters. (Also see botanical variety, clonal variety, horticultural variety and cultivar.) 2. Both as numbers of different genera and variety within one or a few genera. (For use in scoring Groups of Plants, Collection or Cut Flower Exhibits - paragraphs 6.3.1, 6.3.2, 6.3.3.)
9.1 Notes on the Nomenclature of Orchids
The rules of nomenclature, basic for the general information of judges and exhibitors, are detailed in the Handbook on Orchid Nomenclature and Registration. The Handbook on Orchid Nomenclature and Registration has been prepared and published by the International Orchid Commission on Classification, Nomenclature and Registration, and is a practical adaptation of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, formulated by the International Botanical Congresses, and the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants as formulated by the International Horticultural Congresses. In establishing this set of rules of nomenclature for orchids, certain practices traditional among orchid growers have been retained, even though they may in some degree be at variance with certain technicalities of the International Codes. A current copy of The Handbook on Orchid Nomenclature and Registration should be available at all AOS judging sessions.
The Handbook on Orchid Nomenclature and Registration has been adopted by the AOS, and all its provisions shall be binding upon the AOS in its official actions. The AOS editor may observe and correct any species names not in keeping with current taxonomic practices for use in AOS publications.
9.2 Notes on Registering Orchid Hybrids
In accordance with the recommendations of the International Horticultural Congress, the Third World Orchid Conference and the AOS, the Royal Horticultural Society was approved as the International Authority for the registration of orchid hybrids. Full details on the rules and procedures for the registration of orchid hybrids are to be found in the current Handbook on Orchid Nomenclature and Registration, available from the AOS.
Standard application forms for registering an orchid hybrid may be secured from the International Registration Authority or from the AOS. The application must be filled out and forwarded to the Royal Horticultural Society. The current registration fee must accompany the application.
A hybrid cannot be registered until after it has flowered.
The Handbook on Orchid Nomenclature and Registration has been adopted by the AOS, and all its provisions shall be binding upon the AOS in its official actions.
9.3 Photographers' Notice: AOS Use of Official Images
Any photographer who undertakes to execute the official photographs of awarded orchid flowers, by so doing, gives permission to the AOS to use the submitted photographic items for the Society's purposes and programs.
9.4 Guidelines on Orchid Awards Photography
High quality digital image files of awarded orchid flowers and the right of the AOS to use these photographs for its purposes are essential to the proper functioning of the AOS judging system and the carrying out of the AOS's purposes. These pictures provide the only photographic documentation of awarded plants, making possible a comparison of developments in orchid standards over the years; they also provide a basis for the unification of orchid judging standards throughout the vast territory in which AOS judging is conducted.
While it may not be practical to hire a professional to make award photographs, judges or others responsible for these pictures should seek the services of the most competent and experienced photographer available. In fact, the serious amateur photographer with a good general knowledge of orchids may produce more satisfactory pictures than the full fledged professional unfamiliar with his subjects. Before undertaking this important assignment, the newcomer to orchid photography, whether amateur or professional, should carefully study the awards photography guidelines that accompany all AOS judging kits. The photographer might also benefit from studying the books, Garden Photography and Orchid Photography, and by analyzing some of the outstanding examples of award photography published in Orchids and AQ Plus. The ultimate goal should be to achieve the highest standards of quality in all award photographs.
The basic equipment needed for awards photography is
a high quality digital camera with macro capabilities, a sturdy
tripod, portable lighting equipment and material suitable for
creating neutral backgrounds. A separate light meter may be helpful
in some situations as is an adjustable stand for posing the plants
A digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) or electronic view finder camera
(EVF) are the most practical for awards photography. Their chief advantage is
that composing, focusing, etc., are done directly through the lens that actually
takes the picture. A competently used DSLR equipped with a macro lens or an EVF
with suitable close-up range can produce pictures of excellent quality.
Through the lens metering (TTL) is the preferred setting when using flash. It
is strongly recommended that photographers do not use the camera’s built-in
pop-up flash. A separate, external flash that fits the camera’s hot shoe will
provide far better results, especially if a light modifier is used. The use of
an 18 percent gray card can help ensure proper exposure under any light source
as well as provide a reference for minor color correction. If a separate hand
held meter must be used, incident light measurement will prove to be more
reliable than reflected light readings. Since awards photographers usually have
only one opportunity to photograph awarded clones, they must be thoroughly
familiar with their equipment. The camera’s self timer can be used to minimize
camera motion during long exposures.
9.4.2 General Setup
Generally it is unwise to schedule awards photography
outdoors, owing to the impossibility of controlling the
environment (sunlight, wind, etc.). Be prepared to select an
indoor site, free from drafts and breezes, and preferably
somewhat secluded to avoid interference by onlookers. There
should be enough room to permit efficient and comfortable
working conditions and accommodation of large culture
awards. The camera should be tripod-mounted, and the tripod
itself should stand on a firm surface for maximum
Always avoid background materials having color or texture that may compete or
even clash with the flower colors. A medium gray or even a black backdrop of
non-reflective material, such as photographer's seamless paper, works very well
and will not affect the color rendition of the subjects. No light should be
reflected from the brightly colored objects nearby, so that the color tones of
the flowers will not be affected. In general, light colors (white, yellow,
pastels) are best photographed against dark backgrounds, while very deep reds,
purples, etc., are seen to best advantage against a background of medium
density. Again, avoid any background with a definite pattern or distracting
colors, such as wallpaper. Always place the subject far enough away from any
background to eliminate shadows.
Pose the plant on a table or stand which places the inflorescence at a
comfortable working height appropriate to the camera/tripod elevation. Empty
clay flower pots or wooden baskets make useful plant stands for posing orchids
at the proper height or angle. If such props cannot be eliminated from the
picture area, camouflage them with a swatch of black velvet, or with some of the
same material used for the backdrop. Likewise, remove or hide any plant labels,
ties or other items that would distract the viewer's eye.
Circumstances (power failure, equipment failure, etc.) may arise in which the photographer has no choice but to use natural sunlight. When shooting color it is best to avoid the overly warm (reddish) daylight normally encountered during the first two hours after sunrise and the last two hours before sunset. To soften harsh, dark shadows common in sunlit photographs, use one or more reflectors to bounce light back inside the face of the flower. Crinkled aluminum foil spread over cardboard, collapsible light disks, or an 8x10 inch piece of white matte board or foam core all work well. Obviously, outdoor photography demands the most sheltered location possible. Small lens apertures and slow shutter speeds require a motionless subject.
For artificial light, there are three traditional choices: photoflood, quartz-halogen and strobe. Newer light sources include LED’s and daylight-balanced fluorescent. Be certain that the correct white balance (WB) setting is selected for the light source to be used. Conduct tests with any new light source before doing actual award photography. Whenever using existing light, each setup is likely to present its own individual problems requiring step-by-step solutions.
Successful flower portraits involve almost the same general lighting principles as good people portraits. The basic light should be placed near (but not on) the camera. A key light of slightly greater intensity is usually placed at a diagonal in the camera plane, off to the side and somewhat above the subject, for modeling. Usually a third light can be used to great advantage, placed well above and slightly behind the subject, to create a luminous effect and separate it from the background. The use of diffusion material with any light source (and especially with strobes) is highly recommended. Shadow-lines will be softened, the rendition of textural features will be enhanced, and a more pleasing natural effect is produced.
9.4.4 Posing the Flower
The awards photographer's challenge is to capture the features of a plant or flower that led the judging team to grant it an award. The photographer should ask a member of the judging team that granted the award to view the posed picture to assure that the proper flower(s) is being photographed and that the picture will show the plant to its best advantage.
The emphasis must be on photographic technique rather than on artistry. While the judges can examine a flower from any angle, the camera can record it from only one. The selection of viewing angle thus becomes crucial. In most cases the important features of a flower can only be recorded from head on, although in some cases a particular subject may require the photographer to shift his camera a few degrees away from perpendicular (plumb). Proper adjustment of camera height will usually place the flower in proper perspective.
Since orchids are three-dimensional, severe depth of field problems are encountered at close range. By keeping the camera parallel to the major vertical and horizontal planes of a flower, most of its elements can usually be brought into focus. Flower elements that lie outside these planes can then be dealt with by stopping down the lens aperture as necessary (f-16 to f-32 are common settings). Any system of incandescent lighting will generate extreme heat which may wilt the flowers, or worse, burn the plant. It is good practice to place your hand over the plant at the point nearest the light source; if the heat feels uncomfortable, the light is too close.
9.4.5 Shooting the Picture
Always use that highest image quality and size settings that the camera is capable of. Award images must be a minimum of 6 megapixels (2000 x 3000 pixels), larger is preferred. Digital cameras have far more settings than film cameras. Check all of them before shooting any awarded orchids. Particularly, be sure that the camera’s white balance is set for the light source being used.
Flower portraits should fill the frame as much as possible. First, make certain that you are satisfied with the flower pose, the lighting, the background, the camera settings and all the other elements of the picture. Next make an initial exposure and carefully study the image on the camera’s LCD screen. Look for unnecessary distractions. Is the pot visible? Does the background cover the entire frame? Can you see any labels, tags, ribbons, stakes, etc.? In short, is anything distracting in the picture? Is focus sharp? Correct any problems before committing to final exposures. Even with the ability to somewhat correct exposure with digital image files, it is still a good idea to bracket exposures. Take at least three pictures; one at the nominally correct exposure setting and one at a lower and one at a higher f-stop. The image will look different on a computer monitor than on the camera’s LCD. Do not rely on post processing to correct exposure mistakes, get it right the first time!
Award image files should be named using the official award number as it appears on the summary sheet, saved as either TIFF or high quality JPEG and burned to optical disc to be returned to the chair of the judging center. DO NOT send RAW files to the AOS.
188.8.131.52 Awards Photography Bulletins
The JC may issue interim information bulletins governing awards photography practices and procedures as needed.
Part Two, EXHIBITION
Local orchid societies are formed as nonprofit organizations to provide a closer relationship among orchid growers by meetings devoted to the advancement of knowledge and appreciation of orchids. Eventually, most societies consider staging their own orchid exhibition or show.
There are many benefits to be derived from planning and executing such an event. The participants acquire increased knowledge, experience and personal satisfaction from the accomplishment. The society itself finds new vigor, fellowship, and shared experience. There is helpful publicity, potential for new members, and opening of new horizons. Working together as a team can provide a unifying force for any society.
1.2 The Orchid Exhibition
To gain experience, many societies stage an orchid exhibition before undertaking a show. Society members bring their best plants to a bank, store, shopping mall or other public location. A committee plans and arranges the entire exhibit for best effect. Like a show, an exhibition must offer beauty to justify its existence. A schedule is not necessary nor are formal entries, although both may be utilized in anticipation of the society's first show.
An exhibition should offer education, both for members of the society and the viewing public. For this reason, the exhibition should be constantly manned by one or more members of the society to provide information and security. Members serving as attendants should learn the names of the plants in the exhibition and as much information about them as circumstances allow. All plants in an exhibit should be clearly labeled. An exhibition is not judged nor is it customary to charge admission. A descriptive folder about orchids and the local society should be available for distribution to interested persons. The membership application forms and publications of the American Orchid Society should also be displayed.
Some societies continue to hold their own exhibition year after year, deriving pleasure and a sense of growth from increasingly better presentations. Other societies begin to stage an exhibit in a nearby flower and garden show or in the show of a neighboring orchid society. Still others embark on their first orchid show as soon as they feel they are ready to do so.
A successful show requires early planning and proper organization. Each
year's show will bring new problems and changing needs. When the show is a new
venture or a new format is under consideration, several matters of basic policy
should be addressed. The nature of the show, time or season, site and whether or
not to have AOS judging are but four of the major decisions to be made.
2.2 Nature of the Show
Several types of shows are possible. The choice will be determined by the
amount of plant material available, the number of local exhibitors, availability
of workers within the society, size of the show site and other factors.
2.2.1 Exhibition Format
Simplest to stage and conduct are "tabletop" or
"bench" shows, where all plants are arranged on tables or
benches. Plants may be grouped by the classes provided in
the show schedule or by exhibitor. Occasionally, a
combination of these two formats may be used.
Societies whose members own small orchid collections may find it desirable to
undertake a "mini-show," utilizing card tables for each exhibit. One or more
flowering plants are placed in an appropriately designed setting not exceeding a
card table top in size. This can be a real challenge, calling for skill in scale
and arrangement. Where space, experience, and sponsor permit, landscaped
exhibits ranging from 25 to 200 or more square feet can be particularly
attractive features, stimulating attendance. These exhibits may simulate
gardens, natural settings, or other imaginative surroundings, often in keeping
with a show theme. This type of display will, however, require far more work
both by the staging committee and the individual exhibitor.
Many shows include both tabletop and landscaped displays. Such a combination
requires careful attention to the overall show design and a detailed floor plan.
Another major decision is whether or not to have a sales
area. This will depend in part upon the size of the exhibition
area and regulations of the sponsoring institution. Plants may
be provided by both society members and businesses. The
possibility of plant sales is often an added incentive for
commercial firms to exhibit. In addition, the sales space can be
a source of supplies and information for interested persons.
This encourages more orchid hobbyists and new orchid society
memberships. Obviously, this source of income is most helpful in
defraying the costs of a show.
There are two basic ways to manage sales. The society may operate the sales
area, handling all sales and then accounting to vendors. Organizing and staffing
a sales area will require long hours on the part of many society members. A
separate committee may be necessary for this function. An alternative is to
charge specified table fees to individual vendors, relieving the show committee
of the large sales responsibility. Many smaller shows attract distant vendors
and exhibitors by charging minimal or no table fees or sales commissions.
Whatever the format, state and local regulations concerning sales licenses and
sales tax must be followed.
The location of the sales area is also important. If the requirement for
security is paramount, such as in a mall show, sales may be near the exhibit
area and security must therefore be tighter. In more restricted circumstances,
sales may be in a different area altogether. In either case, provisions should
be made so that purchased plants are not carried through the exhibit area.
For most shows, a specific theme is desirable. A
theme helps to obtain publicity, stimulate exhibitors to
create attractive displays and unify a show. If there is
an artistic division, the show theme is also utilized in
arrangement classes and interpretations.
The show theme may relate to the season of the year, community or historical
events, local geography, exotic locales, or imaginative situations. Most
important, the theme should be workable for the exhibitor and of interest to the
2.3 Time and Season for a Show
Shows are often annual affairs, planned for a given season of the year
because of local conditions or needs. The season may be determined by the
sponsor, climatic factors that affect local blooming time or the availability
Some shows occur every other year, allowing more time between shows. Others
are scheduled 18 months apart, both to increase the time interval and to change
In areas of the country where orchid societies are numerous, a large number
of shows may create an attendance problem and limit the availability of judges
and participation of outside exhibitors. Any new venture must adjust to these
circumstances. A society planning its first show in such an area might consider
alternating shows with a nearby group, spacing its shows further apart or
combining with another orchid society, rotating the location.
Weekends are generally best suited for commercial suppliers, judges and
exhibitors, and are the best time for good attendance. Shows held in conjunction
with state and county fairs, festivals and holiday events are exceptions.
Occasionally, meetings, congresses and other circumstances require a variation
from the weekend schedule. In some instances, for example, when a show is held
in a department store or shopping mall, one weekday and the weekend may be
Time for dismantling a show must also be planned carefully.
Conflicts of dates with other shows in the same judging area should be
avoided. If AOS judging is desired, the proposed dates must be approved by the
chair of the judging center with which the society is associated, at least six
months in advance. Confirming the show date is one of the first tasks of the
show committee. (See Part I, paragraph 5.6)
2.4 The Site of the Show
If a show is held under the auspices of an institution, the site is
usually automatically determined. Study the facilities and requirements
carefully before seeking or accepting such sponsorship. The type of show
must also be reconciled with the available facilities. Temperature and
humidity control, adequate access and security must be considered.
Most medium-sized shows seek such institutional sponsorship. It might be a
bank, department store, shopping mall, museum, art gallery or lobby in a large
office building. Such sites and sponsorship may afford needed financial support,
but some restrictions are almost inevitable. Seldom can admission be charged (it
may not be needed, in the light of financial help), and advertising and sales by
commercial exhibitors are often prohibited. Exhibits may be subject to damage or
theft, particularly in crowded shopping malls.
Before looking at possible accommodations, societies free to select the site
for their show should review carefully the following chapter, particularly the
portion on staging. An exhibition or convention hall is the most desirable for
large shows; however, rental costs may be a major obstacle. A convention hotel
is a possibility if many outside visitors are expected. Civic halls and garden
centers should also be investigated.
A public botanical conservatory is often used successfully for orchid shows,
but with certain obvious limitations. Shopping malls have become popular because
they reach a broad spectrum of the public and supply a captive audience. The
number of possibilities is certainly not limited to the above, and with
ingenuity, many new sites for orchid shows can be discovered.
2.5 AOS Judging
Most Affiliated Societies request AOS judging both for the incentive of
possible AOS awards and the valuable contribution of experienced, well-trained
When AOS judging is requested, the society must comply with the regulations
as they appear in Part I, paragraph 5.6.1, or as they are modified from time to
time. In particular, the requirements for AOS awards photography should be noted
as this is a responsibility of the sponsoring society (See Part I, paragraphs
5.5.3, 184.108.40.206 & , 5.6.1, 9.3 and 220.127.116.11).
An affiliated organization wishing AOS judging at a show must follow the
procedure outlined in Part I, paragraph 5.6.1 so that a date may be requested of
the chair of the AOS judging center or designated administrative center with
which the society is associated, at least four months in advance. When the
application forms are received, they should be completed and returned promptly
to the Center Chair or designated administrative center chair. The required
fees, for the judging kit and the show trophy, if desired, must be submitted
either to the Center Chair or designated administrative chair, or directly to
the AOS Awards Registrar, as directed by the Center Chair or designated
administrative chair. When all applications are complete and fees paid, the
Awards Registrar will notify the Center Chair or designated administrative chair
and the Show Chair of completion.
In many areas, the AOS judging calendar is so crowded that application for a
specific show date may well need to be made a year or more in advance. If this
will be your first AOS-sanctioned show, then the AOS slide program, Orchid
Judging, will help society members understand the AOS judging system.
3.1 Show Committees and Assignments
A show's obligations are most effectively accomplished when delegated to a show chair, show committee and specific subcommittees, thus organizing the functions of the show into separate departments. Each task must be worked out on a step-by-step basis by the various committees. It is not possible to mention all details in a handbook such as this, but they may be anticipated if the persons responsible think through each step of their operation. For example, it may be necessary to get special permission to park in a restricted area in order to bring plants into a show. Careful planning will uncover many needs.
The following responsibilities may be fulfilled by a committee, a single individual or by the directors or officers of a society. The functions to be performed, and the committees or individuals to be assigned, are discussed more fully under the following headings: Show Chair, Co-Chair and General Committee; Schedule; Awards; Staging; Classification; Entries; Clerking; Judging; Hospitality; Publicity; Finance; Artistic Division.
If a show is to be held in conjunction with a lecture series, tour or the meeting of a regional or national orchid organization, special committees will be needed to plan these events.
3.2 Show Chair, Co-Chair and General Committee
As in most organizations, provision must be made for coordinating and controlling the various committees. For this purpose, a general chair is appointed as the chief executive of the show. He or she will need a formal means of communication with the other people involved. A general show committee can serve this purpose. For large shows, this committee will consist of the chairs of the various special committees. The show committee should have regular frequent meetings which all chairs and their committees can attend. Progress reports at committee meetings are the best method for exchanging information. Functions not otherwise assigned are the general chair's responsibility. Since the work of any one committee inevitably impinges on others, the importance of coordination and communication cannot be overemphasized.
The following suggestions will aid in the flow of information. Make regular progress reports to your society at its meetings and through its newsletter. Cooperate with your society's program chair to include one or two programs or study sessions on staging, grooming plants and classification and entry for the members. Prepare copies of all correspondence, sending one copy immediately to the general show chair. Finally, all committee chairs should prepare a final report that details the duties of their committees and any problems encountered, along with recommendations for the next show.
Since shows are commonly held at regular intervals, continuity as well as advance preparation and training are well served if an assistant or co-chair is named who may be chair of the succeeding show. This person should also be assigned specific duties for the current effort. Depending upon the need, a show secretary may also be appointed. This office may be required if the show involves participation of many people outside the local area. When the show is large, a show treasurer may also be needed.
The show schedule presents regulatory guidelines for the show in a manner and format convenient for use by the show committee, exhibitors and judges. Once the schedule is adopted, the rules are fixed. Careful wording of the schedule and clear statement of the rules are essential. Definitions of words and phrases used in judging and exhibiting appear in the Glossary (See Part I, paragraph 8.1). This list should be studied by members of the schedule committee. Proofread the schedule carefully before it is printed and distributed.
The schedule must be adapted to the plant material in local collections from which exhibits will come and to the orchids of the season. Provision should also be made for possible entries from outside the local area. Importantly, the schedule must adjust to changing popularity in the kinds of orchids grown. The show schedule should be re-examined on a regular basis to make certain that it reflects current conditions. It may also be useful to review the show schedules used by other societies in your area.
The list of competitive classes of plants or exhibits is usually extensive to encourage as large and complete an exhibition as possible. Among these are group plant exhibits of various sizes, educational exhibits, cut flowers, individual plants, arts and crafts, and flower arrangements.
Exhibitors may be classified in order to provide competitive opportunities on a fair basis, for different skills, experience or resources. The simplest classification is that of open and amateur. Many shows find this classification easy to administer and satisfactory to exhibitors. Other classes used include novice, amateur, private grower, and commercial grower. Many shows feature a class for orchid societies. Definitions for all these classes of exhibitor can be found in the Glossary (See Part I, paragraph 8.1).
Ribbons are given as prizes in each class. This is sometimes referred to as "ribbon competition" or "ribbon judging." Special trophies may be provided for particular categories (e.g., Best Paphiopedilum in Show, Best Novice Exhibit). The schedule should contain information about all awards.
The schedule must give complete guidelines for the show: the name of the orchid society, sponsors, theme, place, date, admission charge (if any), conditions for entry of plants, times for opening and closing and all other matters regarding the operation of the show.
The show schedule should also include this additional information:
In many parts of the country, regional orchid society associations have show schedules which must be adhered to for shows under their sponsorship. A suggested model show schedule, prepared by the AOS Representatives Program, was also distributed to all AOS Affiliated Societies. Copies available from the AOS office upon request.
- Who will receive entries - when and where.
- The closing time for entries (stick to it).
- That the right is reserved to reject tardy entries and diseased or insect-infested plants.
- That entries may not be removed until a specified time.
- That the sponsors are not responsible for exhibitor's property.
- If applicable, any restrictions on the use of certain kinds of materials or features in landscaped exhibits, e.g., waterfalls, flowers other than orchids. Any special equipment that may be needed, e.g., ancillary lighting.
- The time limits for staging.
- Whether AOS judging is to be conducted. (In order to avoid any misunderstanding, the schedule should clearly specify the obligations associated with any AOS award granted, including fees, hybrid registration and species identification requirements, and regulations as contained in this Handbook or as amended from time to time in AQ Plus (See Part I, paragraphs 5.3, 5.4, 18.104.22.168 and 5.5.4). The schedule must advise exhibitors that judges will consider all plants in the show as eligible for AOS awards except where the exhibitor has clearly indicated prior to judging that a particular plant is not to be judged for AOS awards.
- Whether ribbons or trophies are being offered.
- Whether judges may subdivide classes, disqualify plants for improper classification or other reasons, or withhold any ribbon or trophy.
- Whether or not plants may be entered in more than one class.
- Whether background and staging materials will be provided or whether exhibitors must provide their own.
- That the show chair will make the final decision regarding interpretation of any rules.
- That the decisions of the judges are final.
The awards committee should work closely with the schedule committee so that the number and kinds of awards to be offered are clearly and accurately stated in the schedule. If the awards committee has obtained individual or commercial sponsorship for trophies, the contributors should be given credit in the schedule. Some societies have found that continual solicitation of the same commercial firms to donate trophies does not foster good public relations.
Determining the "Best Flower in Show" where many orchid genera are displayed is difficult and frustrating to the judges as well as confusing to the general public. It is understandable to an experienced orchid grower that "Best Flower in Show" may be a rare botanical with unusually fine flowers measuring three centimeters, but naturally enough, an 18 centimeter purple cattleya is more spectacular to the average show visitor. Schedule and awards committees can avoid this pitfall by limiting their "Best in Show" classes to "Best Cattleya," "Best Paphiopedilum" and the like.
Eligibility requirements for trophies should be carefully considered. Too many restrictions (e.g., member of host society, not a winner of any other trophy, etc.) can definitely complicate judging. The results under such circumstances may reflect neither the highest spirit of competition nor the highest flower quality.
Special attention may have to be given to the safety of trophies or awards. One solution found useful in malls and other areas where security is a problem is to have a locked display case in which all trophies are displayed. At the exhibits where trophies were awarded, printed cards or special ribbons are used to refer to the appropriate trophy. At show breakdown or perhaps at a special awards meeting or dinner, trophies may be distributed to the winners.
The awards committee is responsible for ensuring that all ribbons and trophies are obtained in good time for the show. Prior to the show, each trophy, if not engraved, should have a card attached indicating for which class or special award it is to be given. Once the prizes have been marked and judging has begun, changes should be avoided.
Advance notice of the orchid show and promptness in preparing and releasing a copy of award winners to the press is essential for newspaper and television coverage of the show.
This term refers to the physical arrangements or equipment needed for the show and the process of setting up exhibits. These are the general duties of the staging committee. Its members normally design the show. The design should be drawn to scale and exhibitors' positions indicated as soon as these are known. The designer of a large show, frequently an architect or landscape architect, prepares a detailed floor plan for the staging committee to follow. Whether large or small, the show as a whole should be planned so that the total picture is most effective.
When a show is intended to simulate natural conditions or an exhibit is designed to carry out a theme, quantities of staging material such as sand, moss, bark, peat, rock or building blocks may be required. Decisions should be made whether such materials will be furnished by the individual exhibitor or by the show committee, perhaps with a charge to the exhibitor. For large shows, such as regional exhibitions, it is suggested that the host society assist exhibitors with materials for preparing their exhibits.
In most areas, public exhibitions are governed by safety codes that may specify things such as number of exits, width of aisles, use of flammable materials and electrical wiring. The staging committee should determine early in its planning whether such regulations must be met.
Restrictions may be imposed by the management of the exhibition facility on its use. Such strictures may prohibit the use of water in exhibits (e.g., ponds or waterfalls), materials adhering to or touching the walls and moving or altering existing furniture or fixtures. These things must be determined by the staging committee, which should inform exhibitors of all restrictions.
This is a partial checklist of matters to which the staging committee should attend:
The appearance, and therefore much of the success of the show, will depend on the work of the staging committee.
- Place for the show.
- Tables, benches, decorative and construction materials.
- Protective covering for the floor surface if needed or required.
- Foliage plants, trees, and other natural materials for decoration of the hall and/or use in combination with orchid plants in landscaped exhibits.
- Any general construction, painting, etc., required.
- Signs, including marking exhibits as to class.
- Lighting - it is desirable that lighting not only be sufficiently strong, but that it be color-balanced to show flowers as nearly as possible as they would appear in sunlight. Incandescent lighting is preferable to fluorescent. Most shows do not permit the use of colored lights, such as spots, color clips and Gro-lux tubes, since they alter the apparent color of flowers. Some halls have minimal provisions for lighting, and exhibitors will have to supply their own long extension cords and floodlamps. Good lighting is particularly important for AOS judging.
- Source of water (if show is long enough to require watering or if exhibitors wish to use water in staging).
- Delineating traffic flow if the crowd will be large or if the facility will be used simultaneously for other purposes.
- Dismantling of show. This last point involves considerable work in a large show and should be carefully planned. Each exhibitor will ordinarily be expected to remove his or her own exhibit. Policies as to time of breakup should be clearly established and published in the schedule to avoid premature dismantling or long-delayed clearance of the premises. A cleanup committee will be needed as an adjunct to the staging committee, especially when the society is responsible for removing sand and similar materials or special construction from the premises. Whether a show will be invited back by the host facility may largely depend on leaving the premises as they were before the show
Classification determines the classes to which each entry is assigned for competition. The classification committee should consist of the most knowledgeable members of the society. The clerking chair should also be on hand as an aide and observer of classification and entries. Correct naming is essential. Ordinarily exhibitors will determine the division and classes in which they are entitled to compete. The show committee provides entry forms to be attached to each plant. These forms should be checked by the classification committee prior to presentation to the entry committee.
Entry forms should be labeled correctly, legibly and neatly. The name and parentage (if a hybrid) should identify the plant. Standard reference works, such as the species list approved by the Judging Committee and the Trustees, a complete set of Sander's List of Orchid Hybrids (eight volumes through 1995, and subsequent lists as published), AOS Register of Awards and Supplements I-VI, Awards Quarterly (Volume 1 to date), AQ Plus, and species reference books should be available to assist the exhibitor and the committee. These references should also be available during judging.
Correct classification is ultimately the responsibility of the exhibitor. The classification committee or show chair could be called upon to decide if improperly entered plants should be reclassified. However, it is usually the prerogative of the judges to change a plant to another class or section if they feel it is improperly entered, or if the classification committee or the show chair requests that this be done. Some schedules state that judges may not reclassify entries, thereby placing the burden upon the exhibitor or disqualifying the entry.
The function of the entries committee is to provide a means of designating and recording the plants and exhibits entered for competition in the show. A separate logbook should record the name, address and phone number of each exhibitor, along with their exhibitor numbers if these are being assigned for identification. The entry committee may need to be a large one, especially if entries are made on the day of judging. Members of the entry committee should be on hand and prepared when exhibitors arrive. Two different methods of taking entries are in general use.
3.7.1 Duplicated Entry Information
Simplest to stage and conduct are "tabletop" or
"bench" shows, where all plants are arranged on tables or
benches. Plants may be grouped by the classes provided in
the show schedule or by exhibitor. Occasionally, a
combination of these two formats may be used.
3.7.2 Recorded Entry Information
Alternatively, plants and exhibits entered for judging may be designated by a card printed with space for class number, name of plant, parentage, previous award (if any), location of plant or exhibit, and name of exhibitor. The cards should be made so that the exhibitor's name is on the bottom half or three-quarters of an inch, separated by a perforated line so that it can be turned up to conceal the exhibitor's name during judging. If the entry tags are not color-coded for division of exhibitor, they can be marked in large figures with a felt color pen for easy identification.
Workers should have loose-leaf notebooks, previously prepared, and record entries as they come in, using a separate page for each class. The classes of the schedule should be divided among the entry committee so that no one person will have too many entries to make.
3.7.3 Database Use
Databases also have been used for many years to record entry information. They are being used in small bench shows and shows with large floor exhibits. Entry information is recorded on sheets for each exhibitor and the information is entered into a database. For bench judged shows and for plants not in exhibits, the computer can print standardized entry tags to be placed on each individual plant. These tags can be folded to conceal the exhibitor's name during judging. Plants that are part of an exhibit normally identified for judging only by a small sticker with the appropriate entry number. All entries are automatically sorted by class by the computer for each judging team and copies of the appropriate entry information are printed for each judging team member. Providing this information to each judge and clerk facilitates the judging process. After the completion of judging, the results can be easily entered into the computer to facilitate publishing the results and preparation of Award Certificates. Databases with various capabilities are available or can be prepared by a member with database experience.
3.7.4 General Procedures
In order to avoid error, exhibitors should read their entry tags before their plants are placed in competitive classes. Be sure the proper plant entry card/tag is attached to the right plant, and is clearly visible.
After the entry process is completed, exhibitors may place their plants in their exhibits. Plants that are not part of an individual exhibit should be placed in the proper part of the exhibition hall by an entry clerk. Exhibits or plants arriving after the entry books are closed may be accepted by the show, but should be marked "Not for Competition."
The entry chair or the show chair has the responsibility of acknowledging receipt of cut flowers received unaccompanied by the exhibitor. A photograph or color transparency of the cut-flower exhibit will express appreciation for the time, expense, and effort expended by the grower in support of the show.
Many problems will be averted if a nucleus of membership in the entry and classification committees is retained from year to year. These committees call for specialized abilities.
Clerks are a very important part of the judging process. They should have careful instruction in their duties beforehand and at least one general meeting with the clerking chair and the judging chair. Detailed directions should be given and the procedures rehearsed. The clerking chair should have both experience and leadership ability.
Clerks should understand the schedule and the rules. They should know where the classes are placed and the number of entries in each class. They should have a final briefing after all exhibits are in place.
Clerks must find the location of each entry in their assigned classes. Adequate time to do this must be allowed before judging begins; a floor plan of the show is of significant assistance. A team of two or three clerks is assigned to each judging team. The chief clerk records the judges' decisions on the entry forms; the ribbon clerk places the appropriate ribbons on plants and exhibits. A third clerk may be responsible for locating the entries in each class.
While serving as an AOS clerk, the clerk shall maintain high standards of personal integrity and ethics and avoid any conduct which could be construed as unethical by an observer. A clerk shall never volunteer information about exhibitors or plants nor engage in distracting personal conversations. They should never discuss the judges' comments afterward.
Clerks should not disband their team nor leave until the judging chair and the clerking chair have excused them from further duties.
The show committee appoints a knowledgeable and experienced person as chair of judging activities who sends letters of invitation to judges stating date, place and similar pertinent facts.
Following each judge's acceptance, a note should be sent confirming the date, place, and directions to the exhibition hall. Information concerning lodging for judges should be included. If a show schedule was not included with the invitation, it should be sent as soon as possible.
AOS judges do not accept fees for their services. It is permissible and often desirable for a show to help with a judge's expenses when he/she must travel a considerable distance, but it is not a requirement. Judges are important to a show and they should be welcomed. Many societies provide a luncheon or dinner for judges when their duties are lengthy; others invite judges and their spouses to be guests at various functions. All entertainment of this kind is optional.
Part of the general task of organizing the show consists of providing time after setup for judging to be completed before the show opens. Sufficient time should be allowed for judging, as the process can be lengthy, particularly in large shows. An adequate number of judges will allow the tasks to be divided and the judging completed in the time allotted.
There are two different ways of judging orchids and orchid exhibits: in one, the entries in a show compete against each other for first, second and third place in each class; in the other, plants and exhibits are independently evaluated against established national standards. The former is show judging; the latter is AOS award judging. In general practice, AOS judges serve both functions at AOS-sanctioned shows.
3.9.1 Show Judging
Show judging may be done by AOS judges, by student judges (names may be obtained from AOS judging center chairs), and by other knowledgeable and experienced orchidists.
In forming teams to perform ribbon judging, it is prudent to make the teams large enough so that a team still exists if a judge must disqualify himself because of personal interest in a plant or exhibit being judged.
A detailed consideration of show judging will be found in Part II, Chapter IV, "Show Judging and Its Conduct."
3.9.2 AOS Judging
AOS judging is award judging and is conducted by AOS judges in conformity with the regulations enumerated in Part I, Chapter V, "Judging Process."
The show date must first be approved by the judging center chair or designated administrative center chair at least six months in advance of the event. Application is then made to the AOS in accordance with procedures and regulations in Part I, paragraph 5.6.1. Note that the show committee must secure commitments to judge from at least five certified AOS judges, of whom four shall be accredited judges.
Societies requesting AOS judging must appoint an accredited judge, not necessarily from the center of jurisdiction, or a senior or emeritus judge from the center of jurisdiction, to be chair of AOS judging and to be responsible for AOS records. The judge must be approved by the chair of the judging center or designated administrative center that authorizes the show dates. This judge should be designated and invited well in advance of the show. Please see Part I, paragraph 4.1, for a list of the classes of judges. Probationary judges and judges on leave cannot be designated as AOS judging chairs.
While judging center chairs make every attempt to assist local societies in obtaining the services of AOS judges, securing judges is ultimately the responsibility of the society. A complete list of AOS judges is published on the AOS website and in AQ Plus. Names of student judges may be obtained from the applicable judging center chair. Societies need not invite more judges than required to judge their show; however, any certified AOS judge who attends the show and so desires must be permitted to participate in AOS show trophy and awards judging.
It is the responsibility of the show committee to provide reference materials for judging. Minimally, these should include a computer with AQ Plus, Encyclopaedia of Cultivated Orchids, by Hawkes, and Manual of Cultivated Orchid Species by Bechtel, Cribb and Launert.
Should the show committee be unable to provide all of the reference materials required, the chair of judging activities should contact the judging center chair or designated administrative center chair and ask for assistance in making these materials available.
The requirements for photography of AOS awards must be met at AOS-sanctioned shows. It is the responsibility of the show committee to provide for the services of a photographer. All costs of awards photography at a show are show expenses payable by the sponsoring society and should be included in the show budget. Exhibitors are not to be asked for fees or donations for these costs. The photographer must be familiar with the requirements as enumerated in Part I, paragraph 5.5.3 (5), (or as they may be amended from time to time in on the AOS website and in AQ Plus, as well as the "Suggestions on Orchid Photography" (See Part I, paragraphs 9.3 through 22.214.171.124).
Any photographer, who undertakes to execute the official photographs of awarded orchid flowers, by so doing, gives permission to the AOS to use the submitted photographic items for the society's purposes and programs.
The show committee must provide the photographer with adequate time and space for the task. It is helpful if the photographer is present during the judging process as well.
This committee is responsible for accommodating any guests of the society at show time and hosting the public during the hours the show is open.
If the show is held in connection with a seminar or a meeting of the AOS or a regional orchid organization, the hospitality committee will ensure that speakers and all especially invited persons are welcomed and assisted with their needs. Society responsibilities to speakers such as fees, equipment, lodging, etc., should be determined early and specifically. The hospitality committee should plan its functions and make such contacts as necessary far enough in advance of the show so that guests are at ease regarding their plans for attendance. Four months ahead of show time is not too early for planning and three months ahead is suggested for writing to guests about accommodations.
Every show needs society members present during the hours the show is open to the public to answer questions about the orchids on display and the many cultural questions that arise. These individuals also serve an important and crucial security function for the displays. Some form of identification should make show hosts readily visible to the public.
The publicity chair or committee is responsible for all notices to the news media, Orchids - The Magazine of the AOS, and other orchid and horticultural publications and for obtaining photographs and other forms of publicity. Notification of scheduled events must be received at least four months in advance so that they may be publicized in two consecutive issues of Orchids.
Banks, malls and other commercial enterprises usually have an official spokesperson to handle their publicity. This professional assistance and guidance should be solicited. If your area has radio, newspaper or television shows with garden columns or themes, they are often helpful. In any case, news of the work of local people on show committees is likely to be accepted by newspapers in the worker's community. The publicity chair should prepare a fact sheet to convey important information about the show: date; hours; place; admission price (if any); the name, phone number and address of the show sponsor, show chair, and society president. Publicity regarding the theme and nature of the show will also attract attention.
Television and radio talk shows are most receptive to the glamour of an orchid show. The stations must be contacted well in advance. Ask the program producer if he or she would schedule an interview with an orchid society member who will bring plants and flowers.
Contact with the media should begin at least three months before the show. During the week of the show, any coverage will help publicize the event.
A show can be both a horticultural triumph and a financial disaster. To help avoid financial misfortune, at least three areas require particular attention. These are: (1) budgeting, (2) control of expenditures, and (3) control of receipts.
A carefully drawn budget is essential. This applies to the small as well as the large show. Estimates must be made of all anticipated costs. This will require determining the costs of the exhibition space, materials, security service and so on. In a large undertaking, this process may be divided among the various committees. For example, the schedule committee may be charged with determining the cost of printing a schedule; the awards committee may be responsible for determining the cost of ribbons and other prizes; the judging or hospitality committee may determine the cost of meals to be furnished judges. In any case, the entire amount to be spent on the show must be determined. If it is too high, methods of curtailing expenses must be worked out before commitments are made. If the show involves admissions or plant sales, an estimate of the proceeds must be made.
It may not be the intent of the society to break even on the show. In this case or if a shortage of receipts would cause a deficit, sufficient reserves should be available. The final budget should be announced to the committees as authorization to incur obligations in the amount budgeted for their individual functions.
Expenditures should be made through the society's treasurer or, in a very large show, a special treasurer may be appointed for the show.
Admission fees and plant sales are the only significant sources of show income. Both activities will require careful attention to accounting procedures. If orchids are sold by the society on a commission or consignment basis, detailed records of the number and price of plants sold for each supplier, including society members as well as commercial firms, must be kept. A plant sales area will require a large number of workers to sell plants and act as cashiers. Alternatively, the society may wish to assess a flat fee per sale table or charge by square foot of sales space. Many societies supplement plant sales with the sale of cut flowers and corsages. A separate subcommittee for this purpose may be required. Provision must be made for frequent deposit of moneys, especially those collected at the show.
It should be noted that no sales transactions shall be conducted in the judging area during AOS judging.
3.13 Artistic Division
Most shows have a division devoted to both arrangements and corsages, providing an additional attraction for the general public.
Sometimes societies find it difficult to fill this division with quality entries because their members are unskilled in the artistic use of orchids. Most nationally accredited flower show judges are capable and willing to show amateurs how to wire and tape flowers, as well as construct arrangements and corsages. Many well-written and illustrated books exist on the subject. Each state garden club has a list of instructors and judges for both arrangements and corsages. In addition, the AOS offers slide programs on these topics.
Exhibits might also be solicited from members of federated garden clubs and commercial florists. The show committee may find that entries from outside society membership are more easily generated if orchid flowers are provided for arrangers who do not grow orchids.
Nationally accredited flower show judges may be used to judge the artistic division. Local garden clubs can provide the necessary information. The show schedule should contain the rules for the artistic division, such as divisions of exhibitors, kinds of plant material permitted, classes for entries and special awards.
Neither the AOS Judging Committee nor AOS judges regulate ribbon judging at shows. While AOS judges are frequently asked to perform this task because of their knowledge and experience, a society may actually invite whomever it chooses to conduct show judging. Where AOS judges are not utilized, these general guidelines will be useful.
Judges must understand the classes that they are asked to judge. A competent judge will be familiar with the rules of the show and the specifications of the classes as given in the schedule.
Before judging begins, judges and clerks meet with the show judging chair for instructions. Team assignments are announced at this time. Judges should take this opportunity to clarify any questions they may have.
The teams for show judging usually consist of a minimum of three judges (one of whom is designated the team captain), the clerks, and if show policy permits, an observer. Many shows require that an observer send a written request prior to the show date. When judging teams are organized, one or more experienced judges should be placed on each team. If there is a large number of classes, they are divided evenly among several teams of judges. No judge shall judge a class in which he or she has an exhibit.
A judge should look at all entries in a class and mentally rank them. An entry should be judged as it is when it is seen, not what it was the day before or what it might be tomorrow. Any entries unworthy of consideration should be mentally eliminated (this will include all in poor condition). A new plant or flower should not be considered to have extra value because it is a novelty but should be judged on its own merits.
Judges often feel an obligation to award all ribbons or other prizes in every class. This tendency frequently results in ribbons being given to plants of poor quality or condition. Judges should be advised that no prize need be awarded unless a plant is worthy. This does not mean that every plant that receives a ribbon must be of superb quality, but only that distinctly mediocre or poor plants should not be winners simply because they have no adequate competition. In this regard, it is generally customary for judges to allow greater leeway to the plants and exhibits submitted by growers in a novice division. Judges should have the right to award or withhold ribbons or trophies at their discretion, unless otherwise instructed by the show schedule.
If the show schedule permits, the judging team may disqualify or reclassify any entry that does not conform to the schedule. The reason should be written on the exhibitor's entry card. If a mistake has been made, this may prevent a repetition.
There are certain matters with which a judge is not concerned. Judges do not decide which persons are amateurs, or otherwise, or whether the flowers have been grown by the exhibitor. Such decisions are for the entry committee.
If customary, judges should sign the trophy list before submitting it. Judges should not leave the hall until granted permission by the judging or show chair.
Decisions of the judges must be final. After judging is completed and the judges have left, no award may be changed.
The planning and staging of an orchid show entail a great deal of hard work by many people. It can, however, be futile if exhibitors do not do their part, since the exhibits are the show.
You are an exhibitor whether you enter a single plant or stage a 200-square-foot exhibit. As much care and thought should proportionately be given a single plant as the largest exhibit.
Whether you have exhibited many times before or this is your first time, the following suggestions will help you prepare your exhibit and enjoy the experience.
- Read the schedule.
- Do not be deterred from exhibiting because you are inexperienced. You can only gain experience by accepting the challenge and doing your best.
- Plants for exhibition should receive special attention. Flower stems of phalaenopsis should be staked during their entire growth process. Cattleyas should be staked and tied before buds emerge from the sheath. Stake a spray-type orchid before buds begin to open. Do not change the position of any plant after buds are mature.
- Wash discolorations from leaves before exhibiting. Mild soap suds may be used. Lemon juice may be used to remove hard water spots (lime scale). Artificial "shine" should not be applied. Pots should be clean or covered.
- Water your plants thoroughly before taking them to the show.
- Think of your exhibit as a painting, executed in depth. Remember that the principles of good design include balance, rhythm, dominance, contrast, proportion, and scale (See Part I, paragraphs 8.1 and 7.4).
- Colors should be pleasingly grouped, not scattered at random. In general, darker colors should be at the bottom of the display.
- Choose accessories with care. They should complement, not over-power, your orchids. Labels should be large enough to be read easily, but should not be obtrusive. Make sure of proper spelling and abbreviations.
- Exhibitors and the show committee should work as a team in setting up the show. Do your part
- Do not wait until the last minute to set up your exhibit.
- Do not say of a prize-winning plant: "I have a better one at home." Bring the plant to the show; it cannot win at home.
- Do not expect prizes for flowers just because you are especially fond of them. Learn the standards set for excellence and the rules of good judging. Then you will have some understanding of the difficult decisions judges must sometimes make. Be a good sport.
- Read the schedule.
Each AOS judging center is established under two provisions that affect Affiliated Societies. The first requirement is that there shall be at least one sponsoring society that has approved the request for a proposed center (See Part I, paragraph 3.5.1(1) and (2)(a)). The second requirement is that the affiliated societies, in the area to be served by the judging center, will provide financial and administrative support for the operation of the center (See Part I, paragraph 3.5.2 and 3.6
After a judging center, supplemental judging center or additional judging site has existed for a number of years, this obligation may be forgotten. More importantly, newly affiliated societies may not even be aware of this responsibility. The AOS does not fund the operating costs of judging centers; these costs are borne entirely by the centers. If renting a location for judging is necessary, the expenses may be considerable. Other regular expenditures include the purchase of library reference materials, projection equipment for reviewing images of awards granted in the other judging centers, training and educational seminars, and supplies and postage for judging center correspondence and record keeping.
In addition to providing AOS judging for society shows and the contributions of the individual judges to Affiliated Society activities and meetings, the presence of an AOS judging center, supplemental judging center or additional judging site is a vital stimulus for orchid growing in any area. Affiliated Societies are encouraged to check periodically with the chair of their area judging center to ascertain the needs of the center and how the society may be of assistance.