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Hostas, like most plants, reproduce in two ways. Sexual reproduction involves the combination of pollen and egg to produce seeds while asexual reproduction occurs when "spontaneous" changes occur in the tissue of the plant causing it to change traits on some parts of the mother plant. Sexual reproduction results in seeds and seedlings while the other form produces what are called "sports". Over time, certain hostas have been used often in hybridizing programs to produce new cultivars while other hostas are noted for the production of sports. A few have produced new introductions by both methods.

We have over 13,300 hosta names in our database representing around 9,000 to 10,000 different plants. Many are listed as parentage "unknown" meaning that nobody kept records of the ancestry of that plant. For a large number of open-pollinated seedlings, only the mother i.e. pod parent has been identified. The mother plant of most sports is commonly listed regardless of whether it was found in the garden or generated in the tissue culture process of propagation.

As with most things associated with hostas, there is a bit of confusion involved in determining the background of many cultivars. Hostas listed below have been named as either the mother (pod parent or originator of the sport) or father (pollen parent) or has been noted as being a plant in the "background" of the cultivar. We have also included plants that are listed only as a certain "type" such as an H. 'Sieboldiana'-type.

Perhaps the most uncertain aspect of this topic is the origin of all those "big blue" or, rather, blue-green hostas. I heard a Registrar say one time that the vast majority of these types of hostas come from H. 'Elegans' and H. 'Sieboldiana'. Historically, these names have been used interchangeably so we may not know if the ancestor is actually H. 'Sieboldiana' which was once considered a separate species or its primary offspring, H. 'Elegans'.  H. 'Tokudama' also may come into the mix on many of these plants.

Listed in this column are hostas found in basically two ways. One is that they were mentioned while trying to identify a cultivar with the general statement that a certain plant was in its "background".

The other is when a complex cross such as [('Sagae' × 'Sieboldiana') × ('Loyalist' × 'Neptune')] × ('Mira' × 'Surfboard') is listed as the "parents" of a cultivar. These plants are actually the grandparents and great grandparents. The actual parents have not been named in this instance so these plants would be listed as background hostas. We have NOT gone back into the ancestry of each hosta to determine its full lineage...at least not so far.

Listed below are 320 hostas which are in some way in the ancestry of 5 or more offspring cultivars included in the Hosta Helper Database. These hostas have been involved in the genetic background of over 5,700 new cultivars.

For information on all 1,708 hostas with at least one offspring, Click Here.

1 'Abiqua Drinking Gourd' 4 8 4 1 17  
2 'Abiqua Recluse' 3 1 9 2 15  
3 'Alba' 5 1 6 0 12  
4 'Allan P. McConnell' 2 0 5 0 7  
5 'Allegan Fog' 6 0 6 0 12  
6 'Amy Aden' 6 1 7 0 14  
7 'Ani Mach' 0 1 5 0 6  
8 'Aoki' 0 0 9 0 9  
9 'Aphrodite' 1 0 4 0 5  
10 'Astral Bliss' 3 3 0 6 12  
11 'Aspen Gold' 8 5 8 0 21  
12 'Atom Smasher' 14 2 0 4 20  
13 'August Moon' 22 4 45 3 77  
14 'Aureomarginata',
H. montana
14 9 3 2 28  
15 'Aureomaculata',
H. ventricosa
3 2 4 0 9  
16 'Azure Snow' 7 7 1 1 16  

 

1 'Banana Sundae' 2 2 1 1 5
2 'Beatrice' 29 6 7 12 54 0
3 'Beer Belly Blues' 0 7 0 4 11
4 'Big Daddy' 3 6 4 1 14  
5 'Big John' 7 9 1 6 23  
6 'Birchwood Parky's
Gold'
2 1 7 7 10
7 'Blue Angel' 3 4 31 2 40 0
8 'Blue Belly' 0 12 0 9 21  
9 'Blue Boy' 5 2 3 0 7
10 'Blue Cadet' 14 6 7 1 28  
11 'Blue Dimples' 12 4 0 0 16  
12 'Blue Mammoth'

1

1 7 2 11
13 'Blue Moon' 7 17 2 3 29  
14 'Blue Mouse Ears' 4 0 28 9 41 0
15 'Blue Shadows'

0

6 1 0 7
16 'Blue Umbrellas' 8 7 9 0 24  
17 'Blue Vision' 3 8 2 2 15  
18 'Blue Wedgwood'

1

4 3 1 9
19 Bold Ruffles'

1

4 0 0 5
20 'Bravo'

2

0 6 5 13
21 'Breeder's Choice' 22 3 5 5 35 0
22 'Bridegroom'

1

0 4 0 5

 

1 'Candy Dish'
(Summers)
9 1 0 0 10  
2 Hosta capitata 6 1 5 4 16  
3 'Captain Kirk' 3 1 13 1 18  
4 'Carol' 4 5 2 0 11
5 'Chartreuse Wiggles' 5 4 0 0 9
6 'Chōkō Nishiki' 8 0 8 0 16  
7 'Christmas Tree' 13 3 8 1 25  
8 'Christmas Tree Gala' 21 0 1 2 24  
9 'Cinnamon Sticks' 12 0 0 0 12  
10 'Color Fantasy' 12 0 0 7 19  
11 'Corkscrew' 5 0 0 0 5
15 'Cosmic Hippie' 6 5 0 6 17  
13 Hosta clausa 3 2 2 3 10  
14 'Crepe Suzette' 9 2 0 0 11  
15 'Crispula' 11 0 4 1 16  
16 'Curly Fries' 5 1 1 1 8
17 'Cynthia' 3 3 0 3 9
               

 

1 'Dancing Queen' 2 0 4   6
2 'Daybreak' 0 1 4   5
3 'Deane's Dream' 4 1 1   6
4 'Decorata' 4 2 1   7  
5 'Delta Dawn' 3 2 6 0 11
6 'Designer Genes' 3 6 9 1 19  
7 'Devon Green' 1 1 3   5
8 'Don Stevens' 3 1 7 0 11  
51 'Donahue Piecrust' 6 4 1 4 15  
11 'Dorothy Benedict' 146 15 14 14 189

0

12 'Dorset Blue' 10 18 3 3 34 0
13 'Dorset Clown' 8 1 9 0 18  
14 'Dream Queen' 3 1 2 0 6
               

 

1 'Edge of Night' 0 0 6   6
2 'Elatior' 13 22 4 13 52 2
3 'Electrum Stater' 8 0 8   16  
4 'Elegans' 54 41 28 171 294 28
5 'Elvis Lives' 10 20 1 5 36 0
6 'Empress Wu' 11 13 7 0 31 0
               

1 'Fall Bouquet' 5 2 0 0 7
2 'Fascination' 36 5 4 2 47 0
3 'Fat Cat' 5 0 3   8
4 'Fickle Blue Genes' 7 0 2   9
5 'First Impressions' 5 0 0   5
6 'Flamboyant' 30 8 3 4 45 0

7

'Fortunei' 5 3 17 131 156 57
8 'Fortunei
Albomarginata'
1 0 3 2 6
37 'Fortunei Aurea' 11 0 3 1 15  
20 'Fortunei Aureomarginata' 0 2 12 2 16  
11 'Fortunei Gigantea' 6 0 1 9 16  
12 'Fortunei Hyacinthina' 1 1 35 1 38 0
13 'Foxy Doxy' 6 0 1   7
21 'Fragrant Blue' 6 0 8 2 16  
15 'Fragrant Bouquet' 9 5 17 1 32 0
16 'Francee' 4 1 25 0 30 1
17 'Frances Williams' 42 29 27 9 107 4
18 'Frosted Morning' 4 1 1   6
19 'Fried Green
Tomatoes'
2 0 5   7
17 'Fudge Ripple' 9 4 0 8 21 0

1 'Gaijin' 7 1 0   8
2 'Gala' 3 0 2   5
3 'Galaxy' 54 6 6 2 68 0
4 'Gilt by Association' 1 5 0   6
5 'Ginko Craig' 20 3 4 2 29  
6 'Gold Drop' 4 0 12 1 17  
7 'Gold Edger' 1 0 19 2 22  
8 'Gold Regal' 33 12 20 3 68 0
9 'Gold Standard' 1 1 46 0 48 0
10 'Golden Anniversary' 5 0 0   5
11 'Golden Circles' 4 1 0   5
12 'Golden Tiara' 0 2 18 1 21  
13 'Golden Waffles' 7 7 0 2 16  
14 'Grand Master' 5 0 1   6
19 'Grand Slam' 14 0 0 16 30 0
36 Hosta gracillima 7 3 4 6 20  
17 'Gray Cole' 5 0 2   7
18 'Great Expectations' 8 0 15 0 23  
19 'Green Piecrust' 11 6 1 1 19  
20 'Green Fountain' 1 5 0   6
21 'Green Mouse Ears' 0 0 5   5
22 'Green Wedge' (Aden) 4 1 0   5
23 'Guacamole' 1 0 15 1 17  
24 'Guardian Angel' 0 0 6   6
               

1 'Hacksaw' 5 0 0   5
2 'Hadspen Blue' 9 4 12 0 25  
3 'Halcyon' 22 33 39 2 96 1
4 'Hanky Panky' 0 0 5   5
5 'Harry van de Laar' 6 1 1   7
6 'Hearts and Flowers' 16 0 1 0 17  
7 'Hidden Cove' 0 0 5   5
8 'High Fat Cream' 4 6 5 1 16  
29 'High Noon' 8 3 4 6 21  
10 'Holly's Honey' 9 6 0 0 15  
11 Hosta hypoleuca 26 47 4 10 97 1
               

 

1 'Incredible Hulk' 0 6 0   6
2 'Independence Day' 7 0 1   8
3 'Invincible' 18 13 5 3 39 0
4 'Iron Gate Supreme' 3 0 3   6
               

 

1 'Jade Cascade' 3 3 0   6
2 'Jane Ward' 1 0 4   5
3 'Janet' 1 0 6   7
4 'Josephine' 3 0 3   6
8 'June' 5 9 21 0 35 0
6 'June Fever' 0 1 6   7
7 'Just So' 1 1 4   6
8 'Justice' 11 2 2 1 16  
               

1 'Kabitan' 17 4 3 1 25  
2 'Katsuragawa Beni' 8 5 0 1 14
3 'Kifukurin Ubatake' 6 3 0   9
4 Hosta kikutii 15 7 8 19 49 1
5 Hosta kikutii caput-avis 6 5 5 2 18  
6 Hosta kiyosumiensis 13 2 9 0 24  
7 'King Tut' 5 2 6 1 14  
8 'Kiwi Full Monty' 0 0 12 0 12
9 'Komodo Dragon' 13 2 4 3 22  
10 'Korean Snow' 7 1 1   9
11 'Krossa Regal' 2 5 30 0 37 0
               

 

1 'Lakeside Knickknack' 8 1 2 0 11
2 'Lakeside Looking Glass' 2 3 2   7
3 'Lakeside Ripples' 3 5 0   8
4 'Lakeside Roy El' 8 1 1 0 10
5 'Lancifolia' 7 2 10 0 19  
6 'Leaping Lipizzan' 7 0 0   7
7 'Lemon Lime' 3 1 6 0 10
8 'Lemon Meringue' 2 0 3   5
9 'Let's Streak' 6 0 0   6
10 'Liberty' 9 1 3 0 13
11 'Lily Pad' 3 2 0   5
12 'Little Aurora' 3 4 14 0 21  
13 'Little Jim' 7 2 0   9
14 'Little White Lines' 1 3 3   7
15 'Little Wonder' 14 0 3 3 20  
16 'Loleta Powell' 8 0 0   8
17 'Loyalist' 0 0 7   7
18 Hosta longipes 39 7 50 59 155 6
19 Hosta longipes hypoglauca 12 7 0 3 22  
20 Hosta longipes
latifolia
5 0 0 0 5
21 Hosta longissima 4 1 18 15 38  
22 'Love Pat' 5 10 12 5 32  
               

 

1 'Ma Breeder' 3 5 0 3 11
2 'Maekawa' 3 33 1 7 44 0
3 'Manhattan' 3 2 0   5
4 'Marbled Cream' 3 0 3   6
5 'Marilyn Monroe' 13 1 4 0 18  
6 'Maruba Iwa' 1 4 0   5
7 'Masquerade' 4 1 6 0 11
8 'Maya Kingsnake' 11 9 0 0 20  
9 'Midas Touch' 4 1 3   8
10 'Mikawa-no-yuki' 21 13 0 3 37 0
11 'Minuteman' 2 0 8 1 11
12 'Mira' 6 0 0   6
13 'Miss Susie' 7 0 0   7
14 'Monopoly' 5 0 2 2 7
15 Hosta montana 32 24 45 36 137 22
16 Hosta montana macrophylla 6 15 0 8 29  
17 'Moonlight Sonata' 0 0 7   7
18 'Mr Blue' 1 8 0   9
19 'Mr Jack' 1 5 0   6
               

 

1 Hosta nakaiana 47 4 4 16 71 2
2 'Neat Splash' 60 9 3 6 84 0
3 'Neptune' 9 2 0 10 21
4 'Niagara Falls' 7 5 5 12 29  
5 'Night before
Christmas'
1 0 5   6
6 Hosta nigrescens 11 2 4 9 26  
7 'Northern Halo' 3 2 3   8
               

 

1 'One Man's Treasure' 18 7 2 5 32  
2 'Orange Marmalade' 0 0 9   9
3 'Outhouse Delight' 5 0 1   6
4 'Outrageous' 12 0 2 1 15  
               

 

1 'Paradigm' 5 4 1 0 10
2 'Paradise Joyce' 3 0 2   5
3 'Pathfinder' 0 0 6   6
4 'Patriot' 0 1 15 0 16  
5 'Paul's Glory' 7 2 16 0 25  
6 'Pearl Lake' 4 0 3   7
7 'PeeDee Gold Flash' 3 2 2   7
8 'Piedmont Gold' 3 9 15 0 27  
9 'Pilgrim' 2 0 6   8
10 'Pin Stripe' 10 0 1 0 11  
11 'Pin Stripe Sister' 39 0 3 1 43 0
12 'Pineapple
Upsidedown Cake'
0 0 6   6
13 'Pink Panther' 5 0 0   5
14 Hosta plantaginea 15 41 13 10 79 1
15 'Potomac Pride' 1 4 5 0 10
14 'Purple Verticulated Elf' 3 7 1 6 17  
17 Hosta pycnophylla 39 56 1 12 108 0
               

 

35 'Queen of the Seas' 3 7 1 4 15  

 

1 'Rainforest Sunrise' 1 0 6   7
2 'Raspberry Sorbet' 4 1 5 2 12  
3 Hosta rectifolia 14 1 12 10 37  
4 'Red Dragon' 3 1 1   5
5 'Red Neck Heaven' 5 3 1   9
6 'Red October' 0 3 3   6
7 'Red Sox' 4 1 0   5
8 'Regal Rhubarb' 6 1 2   9
9 'Reptilian' 11 1 1   13
10 'Reversed' 2 3 0   5
11 'Revolution' 2 0 5   7
12 'Richland Gold' 0 0 8   8
13 'Ringtail' 1 7 0   8
14 'Riptide' 9 11 0 1 21  
15 'Rosedale Black Hole' 7 0 0   7
16 'Royal Standard' 3 2 19 0 24  
17 'Ruffles' 3 2 0   5
18 Hosta rupifraga 15 7 4 8 34  
               

 

1 'Sagae' 40 22 17 6 91 0
2 'Saishu Jima' 6 3 0   9
3 'Sally and Bob' 6 0 0   6
4 'Salute' 7 4 0 3 14  
5 'Sand Pebbles' 3 0 4   7
6 'Sea Drift' 1 0 4   5
7 'Sea Fire' 2 1 3   6
8 'Sea Frolic' 3 2 0   5
9 'Sea Gulf Stream' 6 8 1 0 15  
10 'Sea Lotus Leaf' 7 0 0   7
11 'Sea Octopus' 1 4 1   6
12 'Sea Monster' 5 1 1   7
13 'Sea Prize' 68 2 2 2 76 0
14 'Serendipity' 3 0 2   5
15 'Seventh Heaven' 1 1 3   5
16 'Shade Fanfare' 2 1 2   5
17 'Shining Tot' 8 24 0 4 36 0
18 'Sieboldiana'

77

23 12 237 349 157
19 Hosta sieboldii 18 4 20 55 97 15
20 'Sky Dancer' 1 8 0   9
21 'Skylight' 2 6 0   8
22 'Snow Crust' 0 0 5   5
23 'Spilt Milk' 4 0 5   9
24 'Splashed Leather' 2 0 3   5
25 'Spritzer' 6 8 3 0 17  
26 'Squash Casserole' 0 1 4   5
27 'Stained Glass' 0 1 6   7
28 'Stitch in Time' 0 0 6   6
29 'Striptease' 0 0 49 1 50 0
30 'Subcrocea' 8 3 2   13  
31 'Sugar and Spice' 1 0 4   5
32 'Sum and Substance' 52 10 62 2 126 0
33 'Summer Breeze' 1 0 5   6
34 'Summer Fragrance' 2 2 3   7
35 'Summer Music' 1 1 18 0 20  
36 'Sun Glow' 1 3 2   6
37 'Sun Power' 8 3 22 7 40 0
38 'Sunlight Sister' 5 2 5 0 12
39 'Sunshine Glory' 4 5 2 0 11
40 'Sweet Susan' 5 0 8 0 13
41 'Swoosh' 17 3 1 19 40  
               

 

1 Tardiana Group            
2 'Tardiflora' 11 9 8 160 188 0
3 'Tequila Sunrise' 10 8 0 1 19  
4 'Tiny Tears' 2 3 5 0 10

5

'Tokudama' 43 20 8 82 153 49
6 'Tokudama Aureonebulosa' 17 13 8 3 41 0
7 'Tokudama Flavocircinalis' 2 4 9 0 15  
8 'Torchlight' 2 0 4 0 6
9 'Tsugaru Komachi' 2 1 4   7
10 'Tsuma Tajima' 4 2 0   6
11 'Twilight' 2 1 2   5

 

1 'Uncle Albert' 11 4 0 0 15  
2 'Undulata' 9 1 17 2 29 1
3 'Undulata Erromena' 0 0 7 0 7
4 'Urajiro Hachijo' 14 0 0 20 34 0
               

 

1 'Valley's Streaked Goose' 8 0 0 0 8
2 'Valley's Top' 4 0 1 0 5
3 'Vanilla Cream' 4 0 7 0 11  
4 'Venetian Blue' 5 4 2 0 11
5 Hosta ventricosa 25 19 12 15 71 2
6 Hosta venusta 54 24 15 41 134 14
               

 

1 'Wahoo' 4 1 2 0 7
2 'Warwick Essence' 0 0 5 0 5
3 'Whirlwind' 1 0 25 0 26  
4 'White Christmas' 1 2 5 1 9
5 'White Triumphator' 5 0 0 0 5
6 'White Vision' 13 0 0 0 13  
7 'Whoopee 5' 0 1 1 6
8 'Wide Brim' 2 1 9 0 12  
9 'William Lachman' 58 1 4 5 68 0
10 'Wogon Gold' 5 3 1 1 10
               

 

1 'Xanadu Virginia Mary' 5 0 1 0 6
               

 

1 'Yellow River' 1 1 4 0 6
2 'Yellow Splash' 14 4 4 1 23  
3 Hosta yingeri 21 19 1 19 60 0
               

 

1 'Zany Janie' 22 0 1 0 23  
2 'Zebra' 5 0 3 0 8
29 'Zounds' 4 1 7 4 16  
               

 

H. 'Tardiflora', 'Sieboldiana' and 'Elegans' have been included in the Genetic Background of 159 hostas which are either part of the Tardiana Group of hostas or are noted as being a "Tardiana-Type" plant which, to us, indicates that the person giving this designation felt that one of the original Tardianas was in the background.

H. 'Fortunei' was once thought to be a species but was changed to cultivar status in 1991. There are many, many cultivars which had their name changed from for example, H. fortunei 'Gigantea' to H. 'Fortunei Gigantea' and these plants were often used as parent plants for others which means that H. 'Fortunei' would be in the Genetic Background of all of these plants.

H. 'Tokudama' was once thought to be a species but was changed to cultivar status in 1991. There are many, many cultivars which had their name changed from for example, H. tokudama 'Aureonebulosa' to H. 'Tokudama Aureonebulosa' and these plants were often used as parent plants for others which means that H. 'Tokudama' would be in the Genetic Background of all of these plants.

According to an address we heard by a former Hosta Registrar, the largest single group of hostas that have been registered would fall into the "large, blue-green" category. So, when you look into their background, the most common plants you find are H. 'Sieboldiana' and H. 'Elegans' which was traditionally called H. sieboldiana 'Elegans'.

This has resulted in a ton of confusion over exactly which of the two plants is in the background of hundreds of named, large size, blue-green hostas. We have used the statements found in various reference books, The Hosta Journal and online resources to place plants in the various groupings. However, there are many citations indicating that nobody really knows for sure and it may not make any difference since 'Elegans' has 'Sieboldiana' in its background. So, 'Siebodiana' is in the background of all of these plants but 'Elegans' may have been mistaken for its parent in some cases.

   

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