Hosta cathayana
aka Akikaze Gibōshi (Autumn wind hosta)

This species is still a matter of disagreement among the "experts" of hostadom. The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009) referred to the 1940 monograph on hostas by Dr. Fumio Maekawa and W. George Schmid's monograph from 1991. Zilis states, "Simply put, Maekawa's and Schmid's H. cathayana are the same as the most common hosta in American shade gardens - H. 'Lancifolia'."

According to The Genus Hosta by W. George Schmid (1991), "...the "autumn wind hosta" is often mistaken for the cultigen H. 'Lancifolia' because the only visible differences are the former's smaller, glossy leaves and shorter scapes, persistent bracts, and later flowering time ("blooms in the autumn wind")...originally from China as its species epithet indicates (cathaiana = from China )."

It is an upright growing, small size plant about 10 inches in height with a spread of 12 to 28 inches. The leaves are glossy green, slightly wavy and smooth in texture. Pale purple, funnel-shaped flowers with purple anthers bloom from August into September. They produce viable seeds.


Taxonomists (people who categorize and name living organisms such as plants) can go into dizzying detail in their arguments over what constitutes a species. However, for most of us, a simple definition is that the plant either currently exists in the wild or there is evidence (fossils, herbaria specimens, etc.) that it once did.

In his investigations, Schmid (1991) found such evidence for 43 species of hostas including the following:

Our database has listings of cultivars related to each of these species of hostas.

In nature, variations occur within plant species that are not great enough to warrant naming an entire new species. These identifiable variations on the wild species are called varieties. Yes, this term is commonly also used, although incorrectly, to signify what is really a cultivar i.e. cultivated variety.

In addition to the 43 species listed above, Schmid (1991), also listed the following significant botanical varieties (naturally occurring) and forms of the genus Hosta:

H. clausa normalis

H. kikutii caput-avis

H. kikutii var. kikutii forma leuconata

H. kikutii var. polyneuron

H. longipes var. caduca

H. longipes forma hypoglauca

H. longipes latifolia

H. longipes forma sparsa

 
H. longipes forma viridipes
H. longipes var. vulgata

H. longissima var. longifolia

H. montana forma macrophylia

H. plantaginea var. japonica

H. sieboldii forma angustifolia

H. sieboldii forma okamii

H. sieboldii forma spathulata

 
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