The champion bloom at the Wanganui Orchid Society's annual show was one that most people wouldn't recognise as an orchid.

Ross Macdonald of New Plymouth won his first ever grand champion with his Dendrochilum tenellum - a bushy, grass-like plant covered in hanging tendrils.

"Dendrochilum orchids do have these long hanging tendrils - but if you look very closely you'll see that each tendril is made up of lots of tiny orchid flowers," Mr Macdonald.

The judges were so impressed by Mr Macdonald's orchid that it was recommended for a certificate of cultural commendation. This means that Mr Macdonald's plant, plus any that are grown off it, have the name 'Mac' added to the end of its scientific name.

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"It's only a recommendation at this stage, but it's quite an honour," he said.

Mr Macdonald said the plant was about 10 years old, and had flourished particularly in the past five years. It lives in a shade house - a location that Mr Macdonald said must suit it.

"The important thing about it is that it's evenly covered with flowers - there are no gaps. And I've done my best to keep the leaves in good condition so there are no black marks on them."

Mr Macdonald, who has been growing orchids for about 25 years, was originally from Whanganui, and said he was delighted to win grand champion at his old stomping ground.

Wanganui Orchid Society's president Kath Bourne said the show had been extremely popular, with people lined up waiting for the doors to open on Saturday morning, and a steady stream of people all weekend.

It was the Wanganui Orchid Society's 50th annual show. The special occasion had drawn growers and enthusiasts from throughout the North Island, from Wellington to Auckland.

"The judges said it was one of the best shows they'd seen," Mrs Bourne said.