no, make that
H. clausa var. normalis
Another new addition for us this year (2008), from my youngest brother. Thanks again Chris!
With any new addition of unknown identity there is the initial digging around and asking questions
on forums and e-mail robbins about the correct identity of what it is you have in front of you. Once you zero in on one or two possibilities you start examining the pictures in the Hosta Library
and that's exactly what I did with this one. This is either 'Lancifolia', or cathayana and no doubt once we get to see scapes and flowers and determine fertility
of same, undoubtedly one will get ruled out. For the time being it'll be referred to as 'Lancifolia'.
There's nothing like letting the flowers do the talking. Here we are, September 21st 2008
and we have a couple of scapes with flowers, nice, rich, dark coloured purple flowers. And they really are a little on the dark side for 'Lancifolia' seeing as all the pictures I have seen of its flowers tend to be
quite a bit lighter in overall colour. That points to the distinct possibility that what we have here may well prove to cathayana and I want to make sure that I put this plant and 'Chinese Sunrise' next to each
other so we can easily compare blooming periods and flower colour. 'Chinese Sunrise' is apparently a sport of cathayana so if nothing else the blooming period should overlap.
Something's not quite right here though in as much as the 'Chinese Sunrise' I have shows a different leaf from what this one is. This one's narrower in the leaf, same number of veins and there is none of the
slight waviness to the leaf you see in 'Chinese Sunrise'. This puzzle is not solved as yet.
And this puzzle wasn't solved until I looked closer and took this picture. There are 3 new offsets in this pot, and they
are all nudging the edge of the pot, two on the left side and one on the back side. That sort of growth would tend to indicate a rhizomatous growth behaviour and that is what lead me to taking a closer look at the details provided
for this species in the Hosta Library. The listing for clausa var. normalis shows only two pictures and the one of the plant looks like a spitting image of mine, the one with the flowers in it look a little paler
than what mine are. Bob Axmear says in the Library that
'It looks a little like 'Lancifolia' and is often mistaken for it. According to Schmid it propagates by seed and creeping root stocks, although Diana Grenfell says
that it is less rhizomatous than clausa. Grenfell describes it as needing rich soil and plenty of water. The two plants are often confused in the trade,'
That last line does make me feel better about the misidentification,
doesn't sound like I was the first one to have made this mistake, and I won't be the last either. The reference to this being 'less rhizomatous than clausa' is with regard to clausa var. clausa which apparently does
flower but the flowers never open up, so they cannot be pollinated and therefor relies strictly on root propagation.
According to my brother Chris, who gave me this, what I received came from a sizable stand of it from a friend of his who'd received it as a NOID about 20 odd years ago, he's very happy to be able to put a name to it finally.
BTW, look at the clearly rhizomatous growth out the drainage hole in this 2 gallon pot...
To the right, it's now February 21, 2010, and yes, it's been a VERY mild winter, to the point where one of the divisions is already unfurling its leaves!
Other Hostas, like 'Invincible' for example, are close to the same stage, but they suffered some frost damage one night that week, whereas this one did not. Even with plants, location matters, I guess. I believe this is the same plant you see right above,
and it's a perfect example of how vigorous this specie is.
A year later almost to the day -27th February 2011- and it may not be along quite as far as last year, but it sure lives up to
its reputation for being the early bird among our hostas.
With all that growth in a 2 gallon pot, I figured it appropriate to take it out of its pot and divide it.
Well, the fullest of the 2 pots was emptied and divisions were taken. Here's a family portrait from earlier today, 13th March 2011,
and right after I put the camera away I recalled there was one 1-gallon pot missing.
The farthest left square pot with the small shoots in each corner is comprised of rhizomatous runners that were each close to a foot long. This is a rapid grower and then some, plus, with those long runners it is no wonder some consider
this specie borderline invasive. I have only had it contained within pots and based on what I saw today I'd want to make sure that if I ever planted it out into a bed that it would be well contained.
A few months later, like the middle of August, I decided to repot a small clump that seemed to be languishing a little, figured there were issues with the drainage.
I think you can see here why I believe this to be the longest root I have seen on a Hosta, it circled the pot more than once, and warranted having its picture taken.
There is not a great deal more information about this species in Hugo's Database.