AOS Awards

The American Orchid Society grants the following awards to orchids and exhibitors. AOS awards are a recognized measure of quality the world over and coveted by hobbyists and commercial growers alike. An AOS flower quality award adds value to an orchid in its own right, and as a parent for creating hybrids.

HCC (Highly Commended Certificate)
Awarded to orchid species or hybrids scoring 75 to 79 points inclusive on a 100-point scale.

AM (Award of Merit)
Awarded to orchid species or hybrids scoring 80 to 89 points inclusive on a 100-point scale.

FCC (First Class Certificate)
The highest flower-quality award, awarded to orchid species or hybrids scoring 90 points or more on a 100-point scale.

JC (Judges' Commendation)
Given for distinctive characteristics that the judges unanimously feel should be recognized but cannot be scored in the customary ways.

AD (Award of Distinction)
Awarded once to a cross representing a worthy new direction in Breeding. The award is granted unanimously without scoring by the judging team assigned.

AQ (Award of Quality)
Awarded once to a cross exhibited by a single individual as a group of not less than 12 plants or inflorescences of different clones of a hybrid or cultivated species. At least one of the inflorescences must receive a flower quality award and the overall quality of the group must be an improvement over the former type.

CBR (Certificate of Botanical Recognition)
Awarded to rare and unusual species with educational interest that has received no previous awards. The entire plant must be exhibited. This award is granted provisionally and filed with the judging center Chair pending taxonomic verification supplied by the exhibitor. (see Taxonomic Authorities)

CHM (Certificate of Horticultural Merit)
Awarded to a well-grown and well-flowered species or natural hybrid with characteristics that contribute to the horticultural aspects of orchidology, such as aesthetic appeal. This award is granted provisionally and filed with the judging center Chair pending taxonomic verification supplied by the exhibitor. (see Taxonomic Authorities)

CCM (Certificate of Cultural Merit)
Awarded to the exhibitor of a well-flowered specimen plant of robust health. The plant must score more between 80 and 89 points inclusive on a 100-point scale.

CCE (Certificate of Cultural Excellence)
Awarded to the exhibitor of a well-flowered specimen plant of robust health. The plant must score more than 90 points on a 100-point scale. Plants receiving this award represent the highest level of orchid culture.

American Orchid Society Special Annual Awards

Benjamin C. Berliner Award
This award is given by the AOS Trustees to the grower of the most outstanding example of the genus Lycaste or its closely allied genera to have been awarded during the preceding calendar year. Established in 2000, it was endowed by donations to honor Benjamin Berliner.

Butterworth Prize
This prestigious honor, the first of the AOS’s permanently endowed awards, was established in 1966. It is granted annually by the trustees of the Society to the grower of the plant exhibiting the finest orchid culture and awarded a Certificate of Cultural Merit or a Certificate of Cultural Excellence the preceding calendar year. The endowment for this award was established by Mrs. Rachel Butterworth Dietz in memory of her parents (John and Nancy Butterworth) and of George Butterworth Sr., president of the AOS from 1953 to 1956.

Milton Carpenter Intergeneric Onciidinae Award
The Milton Carpenter Intergeneric Oncidiinae Award was established by the AOS’s Board of Trustees in October 2005, to be presented annually to the grower of the orchid plant regarded as the preceding year’s most outstanding example of intergeneric hybridizing within the Oncidiinae alliance.

A plant may be simultaneously eligible for the Carpenter, Dugger or Riopelle Awards; however, the plant may not win more than one of these prestigious awards. The Carpenter Award was endowed by donations from friends of Milton Carpenter; commercial grower, hybridizer and past president of the AOS.

Robert B. Dugger Odontoglossum Award
The Robert B. Dugger Odontoglossum Award, which was established by the friends of Robert B. Dugger and members of the Odontoglossum Alliance, was presented by the AOS Trustees for the first time in 1996 to the grower of the most outstanding example of the Odontoglossum Alliance. It honors the work of a man who was responsible for the 1980s renaissance in odontoglossums.

Roy T. Fukumura Vandaceous Award
The most outstanding vandaceous orchid awarded by the AOS during the previous calendar year is the recipient of this award that was established in the autumn of 1992. The award recognizes the work of Roy Fukumura, in honor of his lifetime accomplishments in hybridizing.

Herbert Hager Phalaenopsis Award
This award was established in the spring of 1992 by members of the International Phalaenopsis Alliance and the friends of Herb Hager. It is granted annually by the Trustees of the AOS to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, regarded as the most outstanding example of a Phalaenopsis species  or hybrid awarded during the previous year. It recognizes the accomplishments of the late Herb Hager, his lifelong dedication to the advancement of orchids, especially phalaenopsis, through pioneering hybridizing and superior culture.

The Ernest Hetherington Cymbidium Award
This Award is given annually by the Board of Trustees 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 to have been awarded during the previous calendar year. The award was established in 2006 and endowed by donations from the Cymbidium Society of America to honor Ernest Hetherington.

Fred Hillerman Award
This award was established in 2000, and is granted annually by the Trustees of the AOS to the grower of the orchid plant, either species or hybrid, regarded as the most outstanding example of the Angraecoid Alliance awarded during the previous year. The endowment for this award was established by friends of Fred Hillerman in recognition of his enthusiastic promotion and cultivation of angraecoids, his groundbreaking hybridization, and his unfailing commitment to the education of the public regarding these orchids.

Merritt W. Huntington Award
Merritt Huntington’s contributions to the orchid community were recognized when this award was founded in the Autumn of 1992 to recognize the most outstanding plant awarded a First Class Certificate by the AOS during the previous calendar year. The endowment for this award was established by the friends of the late Merritt Huntington in recognition of his lifetime dedication to the finest in orchids and his service to the American Orchid Society.

Ann and Phil Jesup Botanical Trophy
Established in 2002, the Ann and Phil Jesup Award recognizes the grower of the most outstanding orchid species awarded by the Society during the previous year. The award honors the many contributions of Ann and Phil Jesup, who have for decades given generously of their time to help advance the mission of the AOS.

Benjamin Kodama Award
This award is given by the AOS Trustees to the grower of the most outstanding member of the Dendrobium Alliance. Established in 1996, it was endowed by donations to honor Benjamin Kodama. One of the orchid pioneers of Hawaii, Kodama is respected worldwide as a first class hybridizer and grower of different genera.

Carlyle A. Luer Pleurothallid AwardThe endowment for this award was established by the friends of Carlyle A. Luer, MD, and members of the Pleurothallid Alliance in the spring of 1992 in recognition of his invaluable, unique taxonomic work that has inspired the explosive interest in the Pleurothallidinae in recent years. It is awarded to the grower of the most outstanding member of the Pleurothallidinae awarded during the previous year.

Masatoshi Miyamoto Cattleya Alliance Award
This award was established in the autumn of 1991 to be granted annually by the Trustees of the AOS to the grower of the most outstanding member of the Cattleya Alliance to receive an award the previous year. The endowment for the award was established by the friends of Masatoshi Miyamoto in recognition of his lifelong dedication to the breeding of fine cattleyas.

James and Marie Riopelle Miltonia Award
This award was established in the autumn of 1993 to recognize the most outstanding Miltonia or Miltoniopsis species or hybrid. It is named to honor Oregon’s Marie and Jim Riopelle, in recognition of their dedication to the advancement of orchids, especially Miltonia, through pioneering hybridizing and superior culture.

Bill Thoms Award
This 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 recognize Mr. Bill Thoms, noted Bulbophyllum grower.

W.W. Wilson Cypripedioideae Award
Established in the spring of 1990, this award is granted annually by the Trustees of the AOS to the grower of the most outstanding example of the Cypripedioideae awarded by the AOS during the previous calendar year. The endowment for the award was established by the friends of Bill Wilson in recognition of his more than 50 years of service to orchids and their growers.

Nax Botanical Trophy
This prestigious award, the first of the AOS annual awards, was established in 1964 to be granted each year by the Trustees of the AOS to the grower of the most outstanding species awarded by the Society. Mickey and David Nax’s love of orchid species has been uniquely preserved in some 700 species Mickey cast in gold. Twelve of these solid gold orchids are encased in the acrylic Nax Trophy, which was donated to the AOS in 1964 and is now permanently housed at AOS headquarters. The AOS Board of Trustees retired this award in 2002.