Judging Rules

The following information is presented for the guidance and information of people interested in either judging or exhibiting camellia blooms. The purpose of the following rules is to improve and develop the standard of camellias by setting out guidelines to help appreciate the beauty of the blooms, and by providing uniform rules applicable to Camellia Shows.


The judging of flowers is a subjective thing, a matter of one person's opinion.  People may have differing opinions. The opinion of a qualified Camellia Flower Judge, while entirely their own, is generally based upon certain accepted rules, formulated for the purpose of assisting both the judge and the exhibitor, and of having uniformity prevail as far as possible.


General Effect - The first important thing to do is to study the show schedule in advance, since a show must be judged according to the conditions as set out in any particular show schedule.  Any ambiguity should be clarified with the show stewards before commencing to judge.

The judge then begins by making a general inspection of the class to be judged, passing over mediocre and inferior blooms, and locating one, two, three or even more of the best flowers. Then, by using a process of comparison, all other blooms in the class should be compared to these blooms.  A flower's form, condition, colour and markings, size, texture and substance, presentation, and its correctness for the class in which it has been entered must all be considered.

A Judge must not take any one factor by itself and reach a conclusion on this one factor alone, but must consider every factor in relation to all others. The weight to give each factor in relation to all the others is set out in the next clause.  In most cases the best flower will stand out, and it will be unnecessary for the Judge to evaluate the flowers individually.  However, when the competition is close, the Judge can resort to point-scoring to assist the overall judgement.


As indicated, this does not necessitate a literal addition of points for every specimen judged but it can be a help in assessing the relative importance of the different qualities of a flower, particularly when the competition is close. 

The following standard for point scoring is set out :
Form 20
Condition 20
Colour & Markings 20
Size 20
Texture & Substance 20
Presentation 10
Total: 110


Form :
That form or shape which is true or characteristic of the variety in all its customary variations.  Symmetry in outline is an advantage, except where the normal form is asymmetrical.

When judging variety classes, the form described as typical of the variety should be considered as the ideal standard. Some varieties produce more than one form and could be exhibited in more than one class.  In shows with classes stipulating form of the flower, then the form that shall apply will be that as is stipulated in the schedule.

Freshness is indicated by the standing of the petals, the firmness and colour of the stamens and anthers, freedom of the flower from insect or disease injury, torn petals, discoloration, or other surface marks caused by weathering or damage of any kind.  When foliage is part of the exhibit, it should be free of any damage, dust or spray residue, and have the colour and characteristics of the variety.

Colour and Markings:
That which is characteristic of the variety.  The colour should be clear, bright and not faded.  Variegation or colour markings, if present in a flower, should enhance the beauty of the bloom and be evenly distributed. The blooms of some varieties are subject to distinct changes in colour as a result of climate and soil conditions.  Purpling of such varieties as 'The Czar' and 'Great Eastern' is undesirable when judged against their typical colour.

This refers to size according to the best that can be expected of the particular variety. The larger bloom - other factors being equal - will usually gain the award, except in special size classes.

Texture and Substance :
Texture is the surface characteristic, smooth or crepey, of the petals of the bloom.  It includes sparkle, sheen and brilliance.  Substance is the thickness or thinness as is characteristic of the cultivar, as well as the firmness of the petals.

Presentation :
Exhibits should be staged to show the bloom to its best advantage.  Foliage is optional in the staging of blooms, however, the presence of one or two leaves usually enhances the presentation. Leaves should be clean and of the same variety as the bloom. They may be attached or unattached to the bloom.

4. Multiple Blooms Exhibits

In classes for two or more blooms, in addition to the quality of the individual blooms, the following points are to be considered :

One Variety Classes:
Credit should be given for uniformity of colour, size and form and attractive appearance of the exhibit.

Different or Distinct Varieties Classes:
Credit should be given for attractive combinations of colours and form, and attractive appearance of the exhibit.

5. Displays and Collections

Show schedules may present specific regulations by which the judge should judge these exhibits. In addition to the quality of the individual blooms the following points should be considered :

(a) In Displays the overall appearance and manner of displaying blooms.

(b) In Collections the number of cultivars specified or limited; whether a greater number of cultivars count as a point in favour of an entry, other things being equal.

6. Buds and Unopened Flowers

All flower buds must be removed from the exhibit except for stems of small or miniature flowered cluster or spray species or hybrids. A partially developed bud, not yet opened into a flower, is not eligible to be judged as a specimen.

7. Flower Condition at Time of Judging

No judge should be expected to foresee whether a flower will be past its prime or perhaps shatter during the course of the Show, and therefore a bloom is judged as it is at the moment of judging.

8. Perfection of Form

The flowers of a cultivar which is known to change its form as the flower matures should have as the standard that which represents its usual form at time of peak maturity. When outer petals turn downwards this is often a sign that the flower is no longer fresh.

The petals of some formal doubles are frequently flat or slightly upturned when fresh. As the flowers age these petals reflex. The first form is the ideal form.

9. Variability of Flower Forms

Some camellias may vary from one form to another, e.g. 'Guilio Nuccio' from Semi-Double to Informal Double. In a general class at a show, e.g. "3 blooms Semi-Double" such camellias must show a form applicable to such class. In a named class, such camellias will be judged on their merits.

As the season advances, the flowers of certain varieties, which earlier in the season are formal double, will normally exhibit stamens. If most of the flowers of these varieties exhibited still retain the bud centre, those showing stamens are not ideal. Experience in such matters must be the guide in judging these cases.

10. Variation from Typical Form

Some varieties under certain conditions fail to attain the form described as typical for the variety. The form described in the registration is to be considered as the standard for the cultivar, e.g. 'Guilio Nuccio' with attractive rabbit ears.

11. Colour Variation

The flowers of some varieties are subject to distinct changes in colour or form as a result of adverse or different growing conditions, such as extremes of temperature. Such variations are not an ideal to be fostered, and count against the blooms, except in regional shows where all blooms would be so affected. Soil conditions can also affect some cultivars, a fact very obvious in regional shows. 

Judges should be aware of both the above, and where a large proportion of the blooms on display are so affected then guidance should be sought from the stewards.

12. Unusual Qualities

A flower should be judged against the highest standards of its own cultivar, but any deviation agreed among judges to be an improvement in such qualities should not be counted against the flower. Extra size in many cultivars would be considered an improvement, but in miniatures it would be a fault and would disqualify the cultivar from the class.

Some Affiliates allow the use of giberellic acid or similar substances on show blooms, but these blooms are disqualified in Victoria unless a specific class is included in the show schedule.

13. Handling of Flowers

A judge should not touch or otherwise handle a flower on exhibition. A flower is generally judged as exhibited without regard to hidden defects. However, if several flowers are in close competition for an award, consideration of hidden defects is allowed. Then a steward may be requested to move a bloom so that it may be examined more critically, care being taken to avoid moving the bloom in its container or damaging the bloom.

14. Judge as Exhibitor

A judge shall never officiate in the Division or Class of a Show in which he is a competitive exhibitor, or in which are exhibited blooms from his own garden, nor shall he participate in the voting for a Champion Flower award if his own flower is under consideration for such an award.

15. Personal Prejudice

A judge must never allow himself to be unfairly influenced by his prejudice against, nor preference for, any particular cultivar or any quality of a flower such as amount of variegation, colour, form, long familiarity with, or especial fondness for the cultivar, and particularly newness or rarity of the cultivar.

16. Discussion

Among judges in a team there should be a willingness to discuss the relative merits of specimens before decisions are made. Often the position in which one judge may be standing enables him to point out faults or merits of a flower not apparent to others. In a close contest a flower should be viewed from several angles to give a complete picture.