Where do all those beautiful new cultivars of hosta come from anyway? Well, from people! The term "cultivar" is a cultivated variety of a plant which means that it is grown by people and is not found in nature (that would be a species). The person or people who discover or propagate a new looking hosta are known as the originator(s).

One way of keeping track of all the thousands of different cultivars is to register them with The American Hosta Society which acts as the International Registrar for the Genus Hosta. Unfortunately, many new hostas are never registered which may lead to a fair amount of confusion for the gardening public.

When a hosta cultivar is registered, the form asks for the name of the person who: 1. Originated the cultivar i.e. hybridized it, found it, etc.; 2. Named the cultivar; 3. Introduced it into distribution; and 4. Registered it. In most cases, the answer to all 4 is the same name. However, there are times when all 4 or any combination of the names may be different.

The key to registration is that the registered plant is the "official" host of that name and technically may not be used for any other plant.

Probably at least 50% of hostas that have been given a name by someone are not registered. Some of these plants are under evaluation by the hybridizer and will eventually be registered before being introduced to the gardening public. Other hybridzers don't "believe" in registration or just don't get around to it. The reasons for not registering a new hosta are many.

If a hobbyist finds a new looking plant in his or her garden and gives it a name, there may not be a need for registration. However, if that plant leaves the garden as a gift, donation to an auction or becomes available for sale, the problem of duplicate named hostas often begins. We have lists of hundreds of such duplicate names in our database.

We are constantly adding to our list of hosta cultivars and, where possible, their originators. Most times, one person is shown as the originator but there are cases where two people own the credit. Sometimes the person who found or "created" the cultivar is not know but the name of the person who registered the plant is listed.

Our listings show the originators in three formats:

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