Albescence – Cultivars have yellow,
yellowish green, or green areas that turn to near white.
Anther – The upper part of the stamen, male flower part, in a capsule-like
structure, that splits to release yellow pollen. The color of the anther can be used to identify some hostas.
Anthesis – The period of time between the opening of a flower and the setting
Apomixis – This occurs when asexual seed is produced without
the normal fusion of pollen and egg resulting in seedlings that are genetically identical to the pod parent. This is found
for example in H. ventricosa.
Bloom – The white, gray, or blue downy surface on a leaf, also called Glaucous.
Bloom can also mean the flower.
Bloom Period – The time period between
when the first flower of a stem or clump opens or is receptive to pollination and the last flower is open or receptive.
to Green – The loss of blue is caused by the loss of pruinose epidermal wax, which produces a blue, glaucous
sheen over a green background color.
Bract – The diminutive modified
leaf or leaf- like structure on the flower stem below each flower. It protects the developing flower as the scape expands
from the crown.
Chimera – Plant or plant parts that contain cells from
two genetically different sources and are important in variegation.
Clone – A group of genetically identical individuals
produced by asexual propagation.
Corolla – In Hosta the corolla is a collective set of
petals and sepals, fused into tepals, normally six, appearing as two sets of three.
Cordate – Heart-shaped, having
two equal, rounded lobes
Crown – The base of a plant where the roots and shoots
join. The crown is made up of the structure of old eyes (where present) and new eyes as well as dormant eyes. It is also
the woody rootstock that stores the energy for the dormant hosta. Usually evident in a hosta with 3 or more eyes.
Cultivar – A Contraction for
"cultivated variety"; a cultivar is a plant that is clearly distinct, uniform, and stable in its characteristics, and when
propagated, retains these characteristics.
Cupped – The leaf blade has
a concave shape.
Decurrent – The way in which the leaf blade may run down
the sides of the petiole.
Dormant Bud – This is small white conical projection can
be found around this season's active eyes and the former season's eye. Dormant buds can be forced out of dormancy if the main
eye is damaged or by a chemical stimulant.
Drawstring – This is a hosta problem where the edge of the
leaf grows more slowly than the center, making the leaf cup and eventually tear around the edge. This usually occurs on Hostas
with light-colored margins.
Eye – A growing shoot from the crown, supporting
1 to perhaps 12 leaves. The new eyes are evident as projections from the crown in early spring. Hosta growers will discuss
their hosta sizes based on the number of eyes, but recognize that a hosta with 3 small eyes may have less presence in the
garden than one with 1 large eye.
Filament – The long thin part of the stamen in the male part
of the flower that holds the anther.
Flush – A set of leaves arising from the eye(s). A
hosta may produce 2, 3, or more flushes from each eye during a season. In some hostas, the later flushes will have a slightly
different appearance from earlier flushes. For example, later flushes of 'Undulata' may show hazy green centers rather than
the white centers of spring leaves.
– A taxonomic unit below that of the family. All
hostas are in the genus Hosta.
Inflorescence – The arrangement of flowers and bracts along
a stem, also called flower head.
Juvenile – The non-adult phase of a plant’s life
when leaves are often narrower than in the adult hostas and the variegated margin will be narrower.
Lanceolate – A lance-shaped leaf
that has a width that is less than half the length.
Lutescense – Cultivars emerge green
or chartreuse and turn to yellow or whitish yellow.
Melt-out – The problem is most
often seen with white-centered hostas where the leaf substance disintegrates leaving a skeleton or disappearing entirely.
Mid-rib – This is the center vein of a leaf.
Morphology – The study of the shape and form of plants.
Node – The point on the leaf stem where they are attached
to the crown.
Obovate – Sides curved with
greatest breadth above the middle.
Obtuse – Blunt-pointed,
terminated by a rounded end.
OP (Open Pollinated) – This distinguishes controlled pollen
crosses where the breeder transfers pollen from one flower to another from uncontrolled ones where the flower either pollinated
itself or a hybrid was created by insect activity. Hosta pollen is too heavy to move by wind.
Stock) – At first (in the days of yore before tissue culture) this meant that you could easily
trace your plant back to the original named plant, preferably with as few steps in-between as possible. Currently, it just
means that you can positively state that the plant never went through a tissue culture stage. Perfect Perennials Nursery think that's worth
some cost so you can be more assured of the stability of the genetics.
Oval – Sides curved with
greatest breadth at the middle, elliptic. Ratio = 2:1 to 3:1.
Ovate – Sides curved with
greatest breadth below the middle, egg-shaped. Ratio = 2:1 to 3:2
Petiole – The stem or stalk
of a leaf that extends from the ground to the base of the leaf and attaches the leaf to the crown. The characteristics of
the petiole (flat, winged, etc.) can help in identifying hostas. Hostas with spotted or even purple/red petioles are hot right
now, as breeders attempt to carry the red color into the leaf of the plant.
Piecrust – In Hosta this is a consistent rippled or crimped appearance
limited to the outer edge of a leaf.
Pistil – The female part of the flower consisting of style, stigma, and ovary.
Pod – see seed pod
Pollination – The transfer of pollen to a receptive stigma.
Pruinose – Having the waxy "bloom" that makes a hosta
leaf appear blue. Some "blue" hostas are better at maintaining this bloom throughout the season.
Reversion – A mutation back to
the original form. A streaked sport will often be unstable, and revert to the margined or plain-colored form.
Rugose – Wrinkled, any leaf
surface with uneven surface features. This includes dimpled, puckered, pursed, embossed, ruffled, pleated, wrinkled, and crinkled
Rugulate – Wrinkled with a slightly
Scape – The flower stem containing
the inflorescence bearing a number of flowers. Usually a leafless stem but in the genus Hosta it is frequently furnished
with bracts or small leaves. The characteristics of the scape can help identify the hosta.
Some hostas are known for foliated scapes, meaning that smaller leaves or bracts may be attached along the scape.
Selfing – The pollination of
a clone by the same clone.
Pod – The fruit that forms after the hosta flowers. Usually called "seed
pod," but there is "pod parent" meaning the female partner in a breeding pair, also called the one with ovaries that bears
Shining – Having a smooth, even,
very shiny surface.
Shoot – The stem and set of
leaves of an individual division; dormant set of leaves all enclosed in a single set of leaf scales.
Species – A taxonomic unit below genus. The number varies
from 17 to over 200 Hosta species depending on the researcher.
Spiral – Twisted, spiral as
the placement of leaves emerging from the rhizome.
– A mutation from a mother plant. Sports usually denote a change
in leaf color and/or form ('June' is a sport of 'Halcyon'), but may refer to different flowers as well. For exmple, H. 'Aphrodite'
is a double-flowered sport of H. plantaginea).
Stamen – The male parts of the flower consisting of the
filament and the anther, usually six per flower.
Stigma – The receptive female tip of the flower at the
end of the style
Stellate – A star-shaped arrangement
around a common axis.
Stoloniferous – Characterizing a rootstock,
which sends out horizontal stems called stolons, often far reaching, from which new and independent plants arise.
Streaks – Some hosta seed-grown plants or sports may
show streaked variegation. Many streaked plants are unstable, and unless divided frequently will mutate to a "stable" form,
usually with variegation.
Streaked Breeders – In a breeding program, streaked plants are
valuable because as pod parents they can pass on streaked properties to their offspring usually resulting in stable, variegated
Striate – Striated, marked with
fine linear markings, streaks, or grooves.
Substance – The weight, thickness, or sturdiness of the
leaves. Good Substance is often used to imply good slug resistance.
TC (Tissue Culture) – Production of large numbers of test-tube
baby hostas, beginning with only a slice from the crown of a plant. TC Liners are the babies, just big enough to plant out
into the nursery. First year TC are a bit beyond that, perhaps at the end of one season's growth. The younger the TC plant,
the greater likelihood that you can't be sure you're getting a carbon copy clone of the original. Perfect Perennials Nursery
will not sell any TC plants. We sell only OS plants.
Tetraploid – Tetraploidy is the trait of having twice as
many chromosomes as what is "normal." Normally, the pollen provides one set of chromosomes from the male plant (pollen parent),
the ovary provides a set of chromosomes from the female plant (pod parent), so the seed has a complete set of chromosome pairs
(and so is called diploid). Either by natural or biochemical manipulation of the cells in the plant, it is possible to have
plants with two (identical) sets of chromosomes in each cell. In hostas, there is a species that is naturally tetraploid:
H. ventricosa that has the rare capability to produce seed by apomixis, or asexual means without benefit of
pollen. By treatment of tissue cultures, hostas can be "converted" to tetraploidy, but this hasn't been done in hostas as
much as it has in daylilies. Tetraploid plants generally have more vigor, substance, larger blooms, etc. A drawback of tetraploid
plants is that the pollen is significantly larger (to hold the extra chromosomes) and so is difficult to use in breeding new
hostas. Triploid hostas result from crossing diploid with tetraploid plants, and are effectively sterile.
Texture – The characteristic of the leaf surface.
Udulate – Wavy, either the leaf
margin or the entire leaf is wavy.
Variegation – Light edges or light
centers of the leaf color.
Vein pairs – The matched set of veins on opposite sides of
the center midrib.
Veins – The prominent lines of connective tissue for
carrying water and nutrients.
Viridescense – Cultivars emerge with
white or yellow leaf colors that ultimately become increasingly green.