Hosta longipes var. longipes
aka Amiga Iwa Gibōshi (Amagi rock hosta)

This species of Hosta is small to medium size (6 to 10 inches high with a spread of 8 to 12 inches) with green foliage.  The foliage is medium to dark green, smooth textured and has thick substance. Leaves are very shiny underneath, slightly wavy and have heart shaped bases. It has dense clusters of pale purple flowers with purple anthers borne on 20 to 30 inch scapes in August into September.

The name means "long feet" supposedly because in its native habitat in Japan, it sends its roots deep into cracks of rock outcroppings.

According to The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), "...the most variable species, with dozens of forms selected for differences in plant size, leaf underside, leaf shape, leaf color, flower color and other flowering characteristics."

Mark Zilis' Field Guide to Hostas (2014) states that this species was found in Japan in "...limestone rocks, on hillsides and cliffs, sometimes along rivers or streams..."

An article about Fall Bloomers by Herb Benedict and Jim Wilkins in The Hosta Journal (1991 Vol. 22 No. 1) states that, "Here are some of the fall blooming plants we grow...(listed in the order of bloom times in Michigan).

 
1) H. kikutii A medium size plant densely flowering with white blooms. The flowers are equally arranged around the central axis of the raceme so that the bloom scapes resembles a bottle brush or pony tail...We are growing two named varieties, 'Hirao-59' and 'Finlandia'.
2) H. 'Fall Bouquet' Small, green plant, leaves slightly undulated, lavender scape and blooms, floriferous.
3) H. longipes Small green plant, densely flowering with a tall stiff bloom scape. The flowers are lavender and the leaves are green.
4) H. gracillima Funnel-shaped, light lavender flowers. A miniature green plant, with shiny surface.
5) H. 'Iwa' Iwa means rock, and this plant was imported by Marjorie Soules, from Japan . It is a small green plant with lavender flowers.
6) H. tortifrons In the same section (Picnolepis) as H. longipes and H. rupifraga . Distinctive small plant, with twisted green leaves and lavender flowers.
7) H. 'Fused Veins' Small, green leaves often with ¼ inch margin which is a lighter green. The lance shaped leaves are undulated and the veins come together regularly. The flowers are mauve and the scape is sometimes branched.
8) H. rupifraga Small, medium green, with thick, leathery, ovate leaves. Densely flowering with purple flowers. 'Urajiro', 'Grand Slam', 'Maruba Iwa'
9) H. tardiflora   This small hosta is the last to bloom for us. Its leaves are shiny, dark green and lance shaped. The flowers are light lavender and borne in abundance on 12 inch scapes.

Note: Nomenclature changes recommended in the 1991 book The Genus Hosta by W. George Schmid and accepted by The American Hosta Society would update names as follows: H. tortifrons is now H. 'Tortifrons' and H. tardiflora is H. 'Tardiflora'.

An article by Hajime Sugata of Japan in The Hosta Journal (1994 Vol. 25 No. 2) states that "As the Japanese name "rock hosta" implies, H. longipes grows between rocks or cliffs near rivers and waterfalls. The natural habitat of H. longipes is widely distributed in areas such as Minamishitara County and Kitashitara County in Aichi Pref., Ena Area in Gifu, Pref., and northern areas of Tenryu City in Shizuoka Pref.

Most H. longipes around Mt. Horaiji in Aichi Pref. are of regular form, but occasionally white-backed ones can be found. Those around Mt. Tanayama are larger and white-backed, and those around Mt. Iwakoya are smaller and white-Backed.

In Aichi Pref. a few noteworthy forms of H. longipes are found. A white-margined form on Mt Tanayama named 'Tanayamanishiki', a streaked form in Makinohara, and a white variegated form in Makinohara, Mikawa Area, exist. Some H. longipes in Hida Area, Gifu Pref. grow at the elevation of white birches. A wild hosta is mysteriously attractive because it has survived through many hardships."

An article by Dr. Ben J.M. Zonneveld in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 2) states that, "...I found in the garden of Hideko Gowen,...From her trip with an American part to Japan a plant called provisionally 'Katsuragawa'...It was selected from a wild population for its rather strong red petioles and I think it to be a form of H. longipes . What was remarkable was the fact that a young offset had leaves which were red all over. We must wait to see if this is maintained when the leaves grow older, but it shows at least the possibility for a red-leaved hosta."

An article about growing H. pycnophylla by W. George Schmid in The Hosta Journal (2002 Vol. 33 No. 2) states that, "...1) In the South, H. pycnophylla needs mostly morning sun in spring and shade in summer...in the North, it needs more sun than shade all day in both spring and summer. This species is very shy about flowering if it does not get enough sun...2) As with all relatives of H. longipes , the plant does best if you supply plenty of water...particularly during summer drought periods. 3) In the North, plant this species in an open location facing south or southeast to gain additional growing season...since this is a southern, long-growing-season species that requires plenty of moisture and warmth (even heat) to flower and set seed."

An article about H. 'Kinu-no-yuki' by Akira Horinaka in The Hosta Journal (2006 Vol. 37 No. 1) says,  "This is a very beautiful new cultivar of H. longipes ...a hybrid of a wild form of H. longipes named 'Chichibu'...and another collected form of H. longipes ...called 'Tochiga'...A relative of 'Kinu-no-yuki', 'Mine-no-yuki' is a hybrid of the wild form of 'Chichibu' and the cultivar 'Kinusouri' (itself a hybrid of a white-veined, wild 'Chichibu' and 'Tochigi')....'Kinu-no-yuki' has a snow-white center with an irregular and narrow green border...[nearly 2 inch-long] leaf...has the most pure white center I have ever seen."

An article about H. 'Okutama Nakafu' by Akira Horinaka in The Hosta Journal (2006 Vol. 37 No. 1) says,  "Nakafu means the leaf has a white center surrounded by green; this plant also has a green accent line within the white center. This is a form of H. longipes ..., one of the most popular hostas in Japan . It is very similar to a plant called 'Hakuho' and may be the same plant under a different name or a "sister" plant. 'Okutama Nakafu' has leaves that average...[just over 5½ inches] long. It is a seedling from 'Okutama Nishiki', which is green with lovely white-centered streaking and itself a sport of 'Okutama' a wild form found near Lake Okutama-ko...near Tokyo."

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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