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FW: Hostaceae

  • Subject: FW: Hostaceae
  • From: "Mortko, Robert A. (Rob)" <MortkoRA@bv.com>
  • Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 11:10:12 -0600

To all,

A couple of weeks ago I posted an "innocent" question regarding the latest
botanical classification of the genus Hosta.  There was very little response
from the crowd so I then directed my question to the "Master" and he was
kind enough to respond.

For those that are interested, Mr. Schmid's response is copied below with
his permission.  The bottom line is this - botanical reclassifications take
much time.  For now it would be correct to say that Hostaceae is one of the
commonly accepted botanical families for the genus Hosta.  Some (including
Mr. Schmid) would argue it is the preferred classification.

Rob in KC 

P.S. Mr. Schmid's e-mail address is not listed in the latest AHS Membership
Directory.  However he recently created an e-mail address specifically for
hosta related correspondence.

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Wolfram George Schmid [SMTP:hostahill@msn.com]
> Sent:	Saturday, January 26, 2002 3:42 PM
> To:	Rob Mortko
> Subject:	Hostaceae
> Dear Mr. Mortko,
>      All things in botanical nomenclature and taxonomy move at a snail's
> pace. Not only is the movement very slow but so is acceptance in the
> literature. Names and placements are opinions which (more frequently than
> not) change. The recent return to Linnean nomenclature from newer names
> (which do not have priority) is but one example. Another is the acceptance
> of placements of Hosta specioids as cultivars and some European nurseries
> still use nomenclature that has been out-of-date for decades. Placement in
> the higher ranks, i.e., families and higher are just as opinionated. The
> RHS Index of Garden Plants (Mark Griffiths) still uses Liliacea with
> Funkiaceae and Hostaceae given as alternates. On the other hand, he still
> tells us that H. tokudama is a species, which, of course, it is not. No
> one has ever found it growing in the wild! Unfortunately, the British, who
> write a lot of learned works on taxonomy tend not to accept placements
> coming from other parts of the world. In his (Mark's) defense, my
> monograph was published about the same time the Index was so could not be
> considered as a reference. The Liliaceae placement goes way back and was
> considered by the following (and other) classifications: Cronquist, A.,
> 1981. An Integrated System of Classification of Flowering Plants. Columbia
> University Press, New York; pp. 1121-1122. Cronquist, A., 1988. The
> Evolution and Classification of Flowering Plants. The New York Botanical
> Garden, New York; 2nd Ed.; Dahlgren, R. M. T., Clifford, H. T., and Yoe,
> P. F., 1985. The Families of Monocotyledons. Structure, evolution and
> taxonomy; Springer Verlag, Berlin. Pp. 187-188. As you can see Brian
> Mathew's classification followed the publication of these major works. The
> classification of the major works may be hard to accept by some and that
> is why Matthew came up with the most recent placement in 1988. For
> example, Dahlgren et al., (1985) have taxonomically separated the
> daylilies and hostas by placing Hemerocallis into the monotypic family
> Hemerocallidaceae and the genus Hosta along with Hesperocallis A. Gray and
> Leucocrinum Nutt. ex A. Gray in the Funkiaceae in the order Asparagales.
> It is important to note Dahlgren emphasized that the inclusion of
> Hesperocallis and Leucocrinum, both endemic to western North America, in
> the Funkiaceae, which also contain the eastern Asia genus Hosta does not
> represent a truly satisfactory phylogenetic relationship. I find it hard
> to accept such placements because I grow both hostas and Leucocrinum.
> According to Mathew, Leucocrinum has recently been placed in the
> Anthericaceae. The taxonomically difficult, monotypic Hesperocallis has
> been connected with Hyacinthaceae and a new arrangement of the petaloid
> monocotyledon families at Kew Herbarium (as reported by Mathew) reflects
> the removal of the latter from Funkiaceae. This left only Hosta in the
> Funkiaceae. Mathew further clarified Dahlgren's fragmentation of the old
> family of Liliaceae into smaller, homogeneous families as it relates to
> Hosta. Mathew pointed out that Funkiaceae P. Horaninow was based on the
> earlier name Funkia Sprengel (1817) which is a later homonym of Funckia
> Willdenow (1808). As such, according to the rules, it cannot pass its name
> on to the family so is invald. Mathew suggested that the name Hosta (a
> nomen conservandum) would indeed be eminently suitable as a family name
> for the genus Hosta as Hostaceae and he provided a Latin diagnosis to
> validate this name so the latest systematic position of the genus Hosta is
> in the monotypic family Hostaceae which (incidentally) supersedes
> Hylander's tribal name Hosteae. More in my book on pages 283-284.
>      What all of this mumbo-jumbo means is that Hostaceae is ONE of the
> accepted classifications in the latest literature and when one considers
> the validity of other placements as well as the arguments for and against
> it, this placement has been accepted by most author writing on hostas
> specifically and is listed in Index Hortensis. I prefer Hostaceae. For
> those who would like Liliaceae, that is alright too, but Many and I think
> this family is too broadly configured. The higher rank placements will
> always be a point of discussion particularly now that we have DNA and
> other modern methods to establish relationships.
>      I hope this helps and convinces you to stick with Hostaceae.
> Regards
> W. George Schmid - Hosta Hill
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