Hosta 'Beatrice'

This seedling of Hosta sieboldii is a non-registered plant from Frances Williams of Massachusetts. It is a medium size hosta which stands 11 inches high and about 25 inches wide. The leaves have a narrow elliptic form and thin substance. Bright purple flowers bloom in late July followed by viable seeds.

According to The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), "...ranks as one of the most significant hostas ever developed. Early hosta hybridizers used it and its seedlings extensively in their breeding efforts to produce thousands of variegated seedlings."

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states: "It is prone to throw streaked sports. This was the first streaked hosta to be introduced and is now among the best-known breeding plants. Sets seed readily...Extremely unstable variegation produces leaves which can be streaked and mottled. The dark purple anthers contrast well with the palest lavender flowers."

An article by Bob Solberg in The Hosta Journal (1994 Vol. 25 No. 2) states that "Frances Williams' larger contribution to hosta hybridizing, however, was a plant that probably never got a single vote on the Popularity Poll. It is not even an attractive plant, and if it showed up now in any hybridizer's seedling patch, it probably would not last a season. It has few flowers, floppy scapes, and no substance...The hosta is 'Beatrice', an ugly plant with a few streaks in the leaves. It was found under a clump of H. sieboldii...and is the mother of almost every variegated hosta created in the past twenty-five years. It gives a very high percentage of variegated seedlings, something unheard of before its existence.

William and Eleanor Lachman crossed the better blues of Eric Smith with their own line of variegated 'Beatrice' and 'Flamboyant' hybrids to yield a large group of blue hostas with cream to white variegation - unlike any previously introduced: 'Cherub'...and 'Crusader'...both registered in 1989 are two examples of this breakthrough. Some may also consider the Lachman's earlier introductions of 'Carnival' and 'El Capitan' as breakthroughs for their substance and bright gold edges, although 'Galaxy', their streaked sibling, is of more value to hybridizers. All have 'Beatrice' and some 'Tokudama' in their pedigrees."

       

These 2010 photos were taken at the Ralph (Herb) and Dorothy Benedict Hosta Hillside in Michigan, tours and vendors at The American Hosta Society National Convention in Minnesota, Wade and Gatton Nursery and Wade Botanical Gardens in Ohio, Toledo Botanical Garden and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

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