QBARS - v16n1 The American Rhododendron Society System of Awards, As Revised to December 3, 1961

The ARS System Of Awards As Revised to December 3, 1961

The Board of Directors of the American Rhododendron Society, on December 3, 1961, voted to make certain changes in the Awards System. These rules and regulations therefore supersede those previously used. Awards may be given to superior clones of either hybrids or species of rhododendrons, including azaleas.
The receipt of an Award may make a variety more valuable commercially, and failure to receive an Award may cause hurt feelings, but the granting of an Award to a variety which does not deserve it is not playing fair and nullifies the value of all awards. Awards Committee members, therefore, have a responsibility to do a careful and well-considered job, and vote for an Award on merit alone.
Awards should not be made to greenhouse-grown plants except in the case of the tender greenhouse varieties.


"Preliminary Award" ( P. A. ) may be given to a plant in flower in a garden, or exhibited at a Show, or meeting, or other occasion where members of an Awards Committee can be assembled.
"Award of Excellence" A. E. , a higher award, may be given only, on reexamination, to a variety which has already received a P. A. during a previous year.
"Test Garden Certificate" T. G. C. , the highest A.R.S. Award, may be given to a worthy variety which has been propagated vegetatively and is growing in a recognized A.R.S. Test Garden. It must be observed in bloom, in the Test Garden, by at least 3 Awards Committeemen, for at least 2 years before the T. G. C. is awarded. As an alternative, the variety may be observed for at least 2 years in at least 3 private gardens, of which one may be the originator's. These gardens must be at least a mile apart. This latter provision is to take care of situations where a breeder may not want to trust what he considers to be a valuable new variety to a Test Garden, where the public may have more or less free access.
As the P. A. may no longer be awarded to a cut truss alone it is not possible to have cut truss entries in a "New American Hybrids" class in a Show considered for A.R.S. Awards. It is suggested that Show Managements consider special ribbons or Certificates of Commendation for those varieties the judges feel should be viewed by an Awards Committee when, or if, an entire plant is available.


Awards Committees are set up on a Chapter basis. Nominations, from the Chapter roll, are to be made by the President of the local Chapter, and the actual appointment, for services until relieved, made by the President of the A.R.S. in as much as these are A.R.S. Awards. Each Awards Committee must consist of at least 3, preferably 5 or more, competent people. If the Committee consists of more than 3, any 3 members may function, or the whole Committee may ballot.
The Chairman shall be designated by the Chapter President, to receive supplies, etc., but it is not necessary to work through the Chairman when requesting consideration of a variety.
Chapter Presidents, in appointing Committee Members, should consider carefully their experience, knowledge of rhododendrons, and other qualifications.
Any member of a Chapter Awards Committee may serve, on request, in a similar capacity in another Chapter area.


Varieties will be considered for Awards only on request, either oral or written, of the originator or other responsible person, whose name shall become a part of the official record if an Award is made. The request must be made to a Chapter Secretary, any member of a local Awards Committee, or to the Secretary of the A.R.S.
Requests for consideration of varieties in private gardens, or in smaller Shows and meetings should be made as far in advance as possible. There is no guarantee that the Committee will be able to see any particular plant at a given time because of travel problems, but an effort will be made to take care of requests. A Committee may set up special meetings for the purpose of inviting breeders, and others to bring in varieties for consideration for Awards. It is suggested that breeders who cannot be reached by an official Committee should propagate their outstanding plants and send them to one of the Test Gardens. Suggestions as to procedure may be secured from the A.R.S. Secretary.
Awards Committee members should not "suggest" that any variety be put up for consideration. The origin of the plant must be certified by the person requesting the scoring.


Where a variety is examined by 3 Awards Committee members their vote must be unanimous to grant an Award. If there are 4 members, the vote shall be at least 3 out of 4, and if 5 members, at least 4 out of 5.
Where a variety is to be examined in a private garden it is not necessary that all of the Committee members go at the same time. No statement should be made to the person putting up the plant for Award as to whether or not a Committee Member is in favor of granting an Award. After a Committee member has seen the plant, his vote should be sent, on an official ballot, to the Registrar who, when all votes are in, will notify the individual requesting the viewing, without revealing individual votes, that the Award has, or has not, been made. Varieties turned down by a Committee may be re-entered another year if desired.
The Awards Committee should fill out, or make certain that the owner of the plant, or someone designated by him, will fill out and send to the Registrar a check list card giving a brief description of each variety given an Award, which will not be official until the description is received by the Registrar or A.R.S. Secretary. In addition to the description this card should include the name of the clone. name of the breeder, parentage of the variety, place where scored, and should carry the signature of the person requesting the viewing. Color descriptive terms should be those of the R. H. S. Color Standards or of the Nickerson Color Fan. As the latter are expressed as a formula, it would help to give also a color designation in commonly used terms, when using the Nickerson Fan.
Awards to unnamed clones are made "subject to naming according to the A.R.S. Code".
No Award should be given except to clones which are reasonably distinct from other existing previously named varieties, so that there would be some real reason for their propagation and introduction.
The Society reserves the right to revise the A.R.S. quality ratings given to Award plants.
It is most important that a plant given an Award be so recorded or marked that its identity will not be lost even in case of death of the owner. This is especially true where there arc several sister seedlings somewhat alike Awards are given to individual clones and cannot be transferred to a sister clone, even if it is superior. Committee members are requested to urge satisfactory permanent labeling of Award plants and to record on their ballot what provisions are made for such permanent identification.


The following American Rhododendron Society scorecards are given for the guidance of Awards Committee members, Show Committees, and others, who may have use for them.

Cut Truss Scorecard
Size 15
Color 25
Form 20
Substance 20
Foliage 20
Plant Scorecard
Plant characteristics (50%)
Habit 20
Foliage 25
Floriferousness 5
Flower characteristics (50%)
Size 10
Color 15
Form 15
Substance 10

Explanation of Scorecard

The scorecard is to be used only as a guide in evaluating a variety as it is possible that it might be almost perfect in all but one character, hence score highly, but be almost worthless because of its one fault.
Habit: Type of branching, compactness, beauty and general desirability of growth habit, resistance to breakage.
Foliage: Leaf coverage too skimpy. too dense, starting early enough to obscure the flowers, droopy or attractively held, persistence, color, size. texture, winter appearance, resistance to pests, sun scald.
Floriferousness: Age at which plant flowers, abundance of flowers. regularity of flowering, flowers too crowded.
Color: General desirability, novelty. tendency to fade.
Form: Pleasing, open-faced, flowers not too crowded on truss.
Substance: Resistance to bruising and breakage, lasting quality.
Size: Most pleasing and attractive for the type (species or variety), showing proper balance between plant, foliage and flower.