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Re: Crosses

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 
'Green Claus'.  

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?

--John Christensen
Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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