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		Database for the Plant Genus Hosta American Hosta Society  

Glossary of Hosta Terminology

ALBESCENT – possessing leaves that begin yellow or more pigmented and become whiter as the season progresses; e.g.H.'Gold Standard'.

ANTHER – the upper part of the stamen, male flower part, in a capsule-like structure that splits to release yellow pollen.

AP0MIXIS - asexual seed produced without the normal fusion of pollen and egg giving rise to seedlings genetically identical to the pod parent; e.g. H. ventricosa.

AXILLARY - coming from the joint of a leaf and the stem.

BACKWARD MUTATION – the pigment change of a plant or division from a variegated state or a state with less chlorophyll to one of more chlorophyll or a solid-colored condition.

BLOOM - 1. flower 2. waxy coating on a leaf, stem, or pod surface producing a dusty appearance.

BLOOM TIME - the time period between when the first flower of a stem or clump opens or is receptive to pollination and the last flower is open or receptive.

BRACT – the diminutive or leaf-like structures on the scape below each flower.

CENTERED-OUT – the dying out of the middle portion of a clump.

CHIMERA – an individual containing cells of two or more different tissues.

CHIMERAL REARRANGEMENT – (in Hosta) the changing position of different pigments of different tissues in an individual, i.e. a gold margined hosta producing a gold centered or all gold division.

CLONE - a group of genetically identical individual plants produced by asexual propagation.

COROLLA – (in Hosta) the collective set of petals and sepals, fused into tepals; normally appearing as two sets of three.


CROWN – the base of a plant where the roots and shoots join.

CULTIVAR - contraction word for "cultivated variety"; a plant that is clearly distinguished by identical physical characteristics and maintains these characteristics through proper propagation means.

CUPPED – leaf blade having the center of the leaf lower than the margin, concave.

DIMPLES – a slight form of seersuckering

DIVISION – (in Hosta) a single shoot with roots attached.

DRAWSTRING EFFECT – the leaf distortion caused by the expansion of the interior of the leaf blade with a correspondingly lesser expansion of the margin tissue. This usually occurs as the result from a narrow white margin and green to gold center; e.g. H.'Lunar Eclipse'..

DWARF – foliage height is less than 4 inches.

EMERGED – having shoots above the ground.

EYE – an undeveloped or dormant shoot; dormant bud.

FASCIATED – a flattening of the flower scape giving the appearance of several scapes fused together side by side.

FERTILIZATION - 1. Application of nutrients; 2. union of egg and sperm.

FILAMENT – the long thin structure that holds the anther.

FLOWER STEM - the main stem of the inflorescence.

FOLDED - bent upward parallel to midrib, keel-shaped.

FURLED - (in Hosta) having leaves with edges or sides curled or coiled in to the midrib; e.g. H. 'Stetson'.

GENOTYPE - The genetic makeup of a plant.

GENUS - taxonomic division of related species below family.

GIANT - leaf size greater than 144 square inches and foliage height greater than 28 inches.

GLABROUS - smooth hairless leaf texture.

GLAUCOUS – a waxy coating (or bloom) producing a white to blue coloring over the plant parts, the coating is capable of rubbing or washing off especially in hot conditions

HEART-SHAPED – having an acute leaf point or apex, and a flat to cordate leaf base; shaped like a valentine heart; cordate.

HYBRID – a seedling from two distinct parents.

INFLORESCENCE - the flowering part of a hosta including the raceme, peduncle, pedicel, and flower.

INFLORESCENCE LEAVES - the larger, occasionally flat, leaf-like structures on the flower stem.

JETTING – (in Hosta) having a margin variegation that is not uniform, but irregularly extends into or toward the center of the leaf; e.g. H.montana 'Aureomarginata', H.montana 'Choko Nishiki'.

JUVENILE – (in Hosta) the pre-adult stages of a plant usually exemplified by more pointed, narrower leaves,fewer vein pairs, thinner marginal variegation, faster growth rate, and often  smaller leaf and clump size.

LANCE-SHAPED – having a narrow pointed leaf tip and leaf blade width less than one half the length of the blade

LARGE – Leaf size greater than 81 square inches up to 144 square inches. Foliage height 18 inches to 28 inches.

LEAF BLADE – the thin, usually flat part of leaf excluding the petiole.

LUTESCENT – possessing leaves which begin the season darker and become lighter or more yellow as the season progresses; not the result of bleaching due to poor nutrition or too much sun.

MACULATA – Latin term for marked with spots; blotched.

MATURE – (in Hosta) a plant with general characteristics that do not change with continued aging.

MEDIO-VARIEGATED – leaf or leaves having a lighter center than the margin color.

MEDIUM – leaf area from 25 to 81 square inches. Foliage height 10 to 18 inches.

MELTING OUT - necrosis of the white or lighter center of hosta leaves.

MERISTEM - the region of rapidly expanding cells of one of the growing points of a plant that further differentiate to produce shoots, roots, and flowers.

MID-RIB – the center vein of a leaf.

MINIATURE - leaf area from 2 to 6 square inches. Foliage height from 4 to 6 inches.

MISTED – having small short segments of dark pigmented tissue on a lighter background.

MOTTLED - blotched spotting of leaf blade; e.g. H.'Cynthia'.

MUTATION – a genetic change of DNA in an individual.

NECROSIS - the death or dying of cells, tissues, or whole plants.

NODE - the meristematic place on a stem where the leaf is attached.

OVARY - the basal portion of the pistil where eggs are contained.

OVATE - (in Hosta) leaves egg-shaped.

PANICLE - an inflorescence with the main axis branched; e.g. H.tibae.

PATTERN – the particular type of variegation.

PEDICEL - the structure attaching an individual flower to the flower stem.

PEDUNCLE – (in Hosta) the main stem of the inflorescence; flower stem.


PETIOLE – leaf stalk.

PHENOTYPE - the visually observed characteristics of an individual; physical appearance.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS – the process that healthy plants perform using chloroplast to produce carbohydrates using light energy, water, and carbon dioxide.

PIECRUST – (in Hosta) a consistent rippled or crimped appearance limited to the outer edge of a leaf.

PISTIL - the female part of the flower consisting of style, stigma, and ovary.

POD - developed ovary or fruit.

POLLEN - the male gametes.

POLLINATION - the transfer of pollen to a receptive stigma.

PROGENY – the offspring from sexual reproduction.



RACEME - inflorescence with flowers attached individually to a main stem by pedicels.

REVERT – (in Hosta) the change of a variegated sport back to its original solid colored predecessor.

RHIZOMATOUS – having long reaching underground horizontal stems; loosely spreading habit; e.g. H.clausa.

SCAPE – (in Hosta) the stem bearing the complete set of flowers for a single division.

SEEDLING – plant of seed origin resulting from the fusion of an egg and sperm (pollen).

SEERSUCKERING – the gathering of a leaf between the veins giving the leaf the bubbled effect as if thread had been pulled out of a piece of material.

SELFING - the pollination of a clone by the same clone.

SHOOT – the stem and set of leaves of an individual division; the dormant set of leaves all enclosed in a single set of leaf scales.

SMALL – leaf area from 6 to 25 square inches. Foliage height 6 to 10 inches.

SPECIES - the taxonomic division of freely interbreeding population of wild or naturally occurring individuals below genus.

SPECKLED – small spotted irregular coloring.

SPLASHED – having a variegation pattern that has many non-connected light and dark variegated sections usually in streaks running nearly parallel to the midrib, an unstable form of variegation; e.g. H.'Beatrice'.

SPORT – an individual arising from the result of mutation or chimeral rearrangement that is genotypically or phenotypically different from the original individual.

STABLE - (in Hosta) a plant that maintains its solid or variegated pattern when propagated by division.

STAMEN – the male flower parts consisting of the filament and the anther, usually six per flower.

STIGMA – the receptive female tip of the flower at the end of the style.



STYLE – the long tube connecting the stigma with the ovary.

SUBSTANCE – the amount of thickness between the veins, to the touch, of a fully expanded leaf blade.

TEXTURE - the characteristics of the leaf surface to the eye.

TWISTED – a leaf rotated around itself producing an askew condition.

UNDULATED – a course wave to the leaf blade; e.g. H.'Undulata'.

UNFURLED – the stage of leaf development when the blade is open and completely separated from the petiole; usually when a leaf has completely untangled from itself.

VARIEGATED – leaf having more than one color due to a difference in pigment components as margined, medio-variegated, splashed,misted, or mottled.

VEIN PAIRS – the matched set of veins on opposite side of the center midrib.

VEINS – the prominent lines of connective tissue for carrying water and nutrients. (in Hosta) nearly parallel to the edge or center of the leaf.

VIRIDESCENT - possessing of leaves which begin the season lighter colored and become more green as the season advances.


WHITE-BACKED – having a glaucous underside; e.g. H.hypoleuca.





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