Hosta 'Gold Standard'
 

This fast growing classic hosta was registered by Pauline Banyai of Michigan in 1976. She found it in a group of H. 'Fortunei Hyacinthina' seedlings.  It has yellow medial (center) variegation with a green margin. It is a large size (22 inches high by 60 inches wide) plant with lavender, funnel shaped flowers on 42 inch scapes from mid-July into August. This is a 'Fortunei' type hosta. The name came from a comment by Paul Aden and Eldrin Minks that the plant would be the "gold standard" by which other hostas would be judged.

According to The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), "Based on sports alone, 'Gold Standard' could be thought of as the most significant hosta cultivar ever produced...its outstanding growth rate, seasonal color changes, and symmetrical mound habit make it an excellent subject for just about any situation. It also has great durability and good sun tolerance...Still, No hosta collection is complete without this cultivar. Unfortunately, many plants of 'Gold Standard' being mass-marketed are now infected with Hosta Virus X... Destroy any infected plant material."

From the Field Guide to Hostas by Mark Zilis (2014), "Around the year 2000, it became apparent that some nurseries had propagated material infected with hosta virus x (HVX). For a few years, diseased plants of 'Gold Standard' were widely used in the landscaping industry and sold at major chain stores to retail customers. The infection became so widespread that it nearly ruined the cultivar. Nowadays, most nurseries sell clean stock..."

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states: "It is very sensitive to light levels so site in bright light to moderate shade, depending on summer heat and the leaf color required. Emerges late from purple shoots. Vigorous, easy to grow. A colorful specimen in the border and excellent in containers...A classic."

This cultivar was winner of the Benedict Garden Performance Medal for 2006.

An article about leaf color change by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (1991 Vol. 22 No. 1) cites an extract from The Genus Hosta by W. George Schmid on seasonal changes in hosta leaf colors:
   
Viridescence Emerging with yellow or whitish color that ultimately become increasingly green. An example is H. 'Fortunei Albopicta' whose green-bordered leaves have a beautiful, bright yellow-colored center in the spring that turns to green by midseason.
Partial Viridescence Emerging with yellow or whitish color that turns to chartreuse (yellowish green), sometimes a dark chartreuse. One example is H. 'Kabitan'; two others are 'Golden Scepter'...and the center leaf coloring of 'Golden Tiara'.
Lutescence Emerging green or chartreuse and turning yellow or whitish yellow. The coloring of leaf centers of 'Gold Standard'. ..is an example.
Albescence Yellow, yellowish green or green areas that turn to near white. Examples are the center leaf coloring of 'Janet'...and the margins of 'Antioch'...and H. ventricosa 'Aureomarginata'.

An article by Bob Solberg in The Hosta Journal (1994 Vol. 25 No. 2) states that "No discussion of hosta breakthroughs would be complete without mention of Pauline Banyai's 'Gold Standard'. Discovered as a sport, in 1970, in a shipment of H. fortunei 'Glauca', 'Gold Standard' is of little used to hybridizers since it rarely sets viable seed, but it was a harbinger of hostas to com. Gold with a dark-green edge it has an attractive and rare combination."

An article in The Hosta Journal (1995 Vol. 26 No. 1) citing Vol. 1, #2, Fall 1993, Great Lakes Region Newsletter included a list of Classic Hostas from Peter Ruh:

An article by Bob Solberg (nurseryman, noted hybridizer and past president of The American Hosta Society ) in The Hosta Journal (2000 Vol. 31 No. 1) states that, in his opinion, the Top 10 Hostas of the past Millenium would be:

1. H. 'Frances Williams'
2. H. 'Sum and Substance'
3. H. 'Beatrice'
4. H. 'Great Expectations'
5. H. 'Gold Standard',
 6. H. 'August Moon'
 7. H. 'Golden Tiara'
 8. H. 'Halcyon'
 9. H. 'Undulata'/ 'Undualata Albomarginata'
10 .H. 'Patriot'.

An article by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (2004 Vol. 35 No. 1) states that, "There's a hosta coming from Holland with an interesting name and uncertainty about its origin. It's 'Darwin's Standard' from Witteman Company in...the Netherlands, a wholesale exporter that uses the name Darwin Plants...Two stories about the origin of 'Darwin's Standard' are going around. One is that it is 'Paradigm'...or a look-alike. The other story is that it's a (tissue-culture) sport of 'Gold Standard'. ..The confusion in the trade is that 'Darwin's Standard', or at least some plants bearing that name, look like 'Paradigm'...maybe that's the problem with this cultivar. There hasn't been sufficient quality control in the tissue-culture lab or by the exporter."

An article  by C.H. Falstad about the stability of colors in hosta leaves in The Hosta Journal (2006 Vol. 37 No. 1) says, "For some reason, cultivars in the H. fortunei Group, in  particular 'Fortunei Hyacinthina' are much more prone to sporting than most other varieties. These hostas are the source of some of the early-found, popular variegated sports including 'Francee'...and 'Gold Standard'. ..and some more recent finds such as 'Striptease'..."

A Photo Essay article by Steve Chamberlain in The Hosta Journal (2010 Vol. 41 No. 1) makes comments about H. 'Striptease', "Rick and Criss Thompson registered this sport of 'Gold Standard' in 1991. Although the white streak between the leaf center and leaf margin made this cultivar famous, I find it almost too subtle to be a major part of the plant's character as it matures. It is, however, an incredibly vigorous cultivar and, with age, makes a striking large clump."

A Photo Essay article by Steve Chamberlain in The Hosta Journal (2010 Vol. 41 No. 1) makes comments about H. 'Darwin's Standard', "This is an unregistered sport of 'Gold Standard' from Darwin Plants in Hillegom, the Netherlands. Although it has the same basic medio-variegated leaf pattern as its parent, the clump shape, leaf substance and ultimate appearance of the mature clump are quite different."







A large collection of Pauline Banyai's original stock of 'Gold Standard' have been donated to Michigan State University's Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, Michigan and may be seen in the picture below. It is in a separate area a short distance from the Ralph (Herb) and Dorothy Benedict Hosta Hillside at the same facility.

 
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