INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION FORMS
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Orchid Class Reference Download
Orchid Intergeneric List Download
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To register and for additional information contact Mark Prout at firstname.lastname@example.org
ORCHID JUDGING An Explanation
By Mark Prout
The Kansas City Orchid Show sponsored by the Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City is sanctioned by the American Orchid Society (AOS). Judging shows is a service of the AOS to its members and affiliated local societies to promote the enjoyment of orchid growing and encourage advancement in cultivation and hybridization.
An orchid show features two different kinds of judging. Show judging compares entered orchids according a schedule of categories determined by the show organizers. In OSGKC’s case, they use the show schedule developed by the Mid-America Orchid Congress.
When judging shows, judges compare plants for their visual impact, looking for the “Wow!” factor. This usually gives the blue ribbon to the best color and form and most flowers on a healthy, well groomed plant. One plant may not possess all the attributes, but one should stand out above the rest. Sometimes, a category may feature plants that are sub-par and judges may then choose to award no blue ribbon and give only red and white ribbons. In a show schedule with 110 categories, there are usually several with few or no entries. It isn’t unusual for the only plant in a category to get the blue or if it’s found wanting, only a red or white or no ribbon at all. Since, one of the objectives of judging is encouragement and enjoyment of the hobby, show judging awards ribbons fairly freely and sometimes awards multiple ribbons in categories where numerous plants are obvious contenders.
Categories are grouped according to genus and best of class trophies awarded to the best of the blue ribbons in the class. The organizing society sometimes offers trophies beyond the best of class. Following show judging, judges select plants for further consideration for AOS awards. AOS judging evaluates the plant according to exacting standards developed for its genus. Judges must have a broad knowledge of the major genera, the species that comprise them, and how they interact genetically in their hybrids.
Judges will discuss a plant’s attributes in comparison to the standards, which generally emphasize color, roundness, symmetry, fullness and floriferousness. They compare the plant to ones of the same species or hybrid that have received past awards, consulting the published record. If one of the judges on the team considering a plant nominates it, they then score the plants using a 100 point scale quantifying its qualities. The highest flower quality award is a First Class Certificate (FCC) for plants receiving 90 points or more. An Award of Merit (AM) goes to plants scoring 80-89 points and a Highly Commended Certificate (HCC) for 75-79 points.
It takes a minimum of six years to become an accredited AOS judge, three years as a student judge and three as a probationary judge, perhaps longer if a candidate’s accredited colleagues require it. Students write and present two papers a year to their judging center. In monthly judging sessions at the judging center, students learn about judging through practice and get the opportunity to demonstrate their own knowledge. They attend lectures and read as widely as they can in orchid publications and books to expand their knowledge.