Many moons ago, Glen wrote:
<<Arguably one of the most famous efforts in hybridization was made by Eric
Smith: H.'Tardiflora X H. sieboldiana, resulting in the H. Tardiana grex
series.Certainly many in this series are visually stunning, clearly making
the cross a classic one.
I was wondering what other intentional crosses might be considered in the
same light. Not the endless open pollinations or mystery crosses , but
crosses where both parents are named and held responsible for their
Anybody have any such crosses they can name?>>
OK, so I'm a little late to the party on this one, but it's an interesting
question that Glen raised and I've been thinking about it ever since. Not
continuously, mind you, but continually. Other than the Tardianas, are there any
crosses that have resulted in a landmark set of hostas?
Two groups that came to mind -- despite thin market penetration due to
limited availability and high price -- are from the Hajime Sugita/Peter Ruh tandem.
I think these cross will make a tremendous impact once they are more
Cross 1: Hajime Sugita's cross of H. kiyosumiensis x H. pycnophylla has
resulted in some stunning plants, including: 'Amethyst Joy', 'Belle of the Ball',
'Inland Sea', 'Lavender Doll', 'Lavender Stocking', Quaker lady', 'Qualifying
Queen', 'White Heron', and 'Swan Lake'.
Cross 2: The second Sugita cross, H. longipes x H. pycnophylla, includes:
'Bloody Mary', 'Doctor Fu Manchu', 'Dragon's Blood', 'Red Legs', 'Raspberry
Parfait', and 'Strawberry Delight'.
In addition, if you visit Pete at Homestead Division, he will show you the
numerous clumps he's still evaluating from both these crosses. There are more
great plants to come!
OK, now I'm gonna ramble on about hosta naming... As I was thinking about
Glen's question, it occurred to me that the question would be easier to answer
if hosta hybrids were named by grex, as in the orchid world. By this system,
the first person to register a plant from a unique cross could provide the
grex name for all future plants from this cross. For example, the first person
to register a H. 'Green Dragonet' x H. clausa hybrid could name the grex (e.g.,
Hosta Green Claus) and provide a unique cultivar name (e.g., Hosta Green
Claus 'Elf') for the individual plant. All subsequent hostas of that cross would
also bear the Hosta Green Claus grex name in addition to a cultivar epithet in
parentheses (e.g., Hosta Green Claus 'Keebler', Hosta Green Claus 'Pepto').
Basically, the hosta world skips the grex name and lists only the
hybrid-generic name and cultivar name (e.g., Hosta 'Green Claus'). This makes it
difficult to associate 'related' plants since a sibling cannot also be named Hosta
Why doesn't the hosta world use grex epithets? I asked this of Jim Wilkins
last summer and he thought it would be too confusing due to mislabeled and
misidentified hostas (e.g,. such as the differentiation between rupifraga and
longipes) in all our gardens. But certainly such fuzzy boundaries exist in the
orchid world as well. Is it more so in hostas? Are there other reasons grex
names aren't used?
Ann Arbor, MI, USA
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