During one of our judging sessions, an observer removed the pollen of one of the plants under consideration. He was caught in the act. Can this plant, a Phalaenopsis violacea, be eligible for judging? Some judges argued that this plant or flower is not perfect or complete without the anther cap and pollinia. —
Neoh Cheow Ching
I would say that it is a call for the individual judges to make based on their own evaluation. Certainly the fact that you caught someone removing the pollen would argue against the elimination of the plant, as it could be construed as damage in transit and not intentional removal of the pollinia to hide any deformation. Also, the pollen had not been removed for any length of time, so the flower would not have begun to degrade as a result. I believe AOS judges would generally be fairly forgiving in such a case, as there are many award photographs that show flowers missing pollen caps and pollinia. I would also think that, in fairness to the exhibitor, the plant really ought to be judged.