If you have a large, bluish green, mound
forming hosta, odds are that it has the species, Hosta sieboldiana, somewhere in its history. Perhaps the classic
of this type is Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans'
which has been around for many decades.
The average large sized mound of this species
will be about 24 inches high and over 60 inches wide at
maturity. They will have near white flowers with a pale lavender
mid-tepal stripe in late June to mid July. The leaves are
broadly ovate, with thick substance and are heavily corrugated.
The foliage is blue-green in the spring due to a waxy cover on
the leaf. This usually melts away as the summer progresses
resulting in a green colored leaf by fall.
The Hosta Handbook by
Mark Zilis (2000) there is some confusion about the actual
characteristics of this species. The true species forms that he
has observed do not always conform to those of Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans'.
The true species types have less corrugation in the leaves, are
not as blue and form clusters of flowers that are less dense
than Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans'.
According to The Hostapedia by
(2009), "The true Hosta sieboldiana is
uncommon in hosta collections and nurseries. Most plants with
this label are actually green-leaved seedlings of H.
sieboldiana 'Elegans' and are not the true species...I
attempted to find H. sieboldiana in the wild or
wild-collected specimens. No collector I encountered had ever
seen it...Even veteran plant-hunters, who had found hundreds of
other unusual hostas in the wild, had never seen it."
W. George Schmid, author of The Genus Hosta (1991),
wrote an article for
The Hosta Journal (online version) in which
he proposed that the plant that has been called a species,
Hosta sieboldiana, should probably be more correctly called
a cultivar, Hosta 'Sieboldiana'. He made this statement under
the premise that no "wild" population of the species is known.
the January 19, 2013 Hosta Scientific Meeting in Lisle,
Mark Zilis said that
Japanese plant collectors believe that
they have found plants of the species, Hosta sieboldiana,
in a remote part of one of the Japanese islands. He said that
the discovery is yet to be scientifically confirmed but he hoped
that a more definitive declaration would be coming in a year or
The species is named for famed
Philip von Siebold.
= Hosta sieboldiana"
So, it sounds as if, when someone
talks about a "sieboldiana" type hostas, they are really
talking about Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans' and its
many seedlings and sports.