Hosta lancifolia (Thunb.) Engl.
Family: Asparagaceae
Narrow-Leaf Plantain-Lily
[Hemerocallis japonica (Thunb.) Thunb. 1784, non Thunb. 1794,  more]
Hosta lancifolia image
Morton Arboretum  
Plants forming open clumps 35-50 × 30 cm; rhizomes sometime stoloniferous. Leaves: petiole erect, green, dotted purple at base, 17-25 cm; blade deep olive green, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 10-17 × 5-7.5 cm, apex narrowly acuminate; veins in 5-6 lateral pairs. Scape 40-50 cm. Inflorescences: racemes 10-20-flowered, lax, slender, 17-20 cm; floral bracts short, glossy green, narrowly navicular; sterile bracts 3-5, large, leafy. Flowers 4-4.5 cm, not fragrant; perianth tubular-campanulate; tepals purplish violet, lobes spreading, recurved; anthers purple. Capsules rarely developing (pod sterile). 2n = 60. Flowering late summer--early fall (September). Disturbed open areas; 0--300 m; introduced; Conn., Ill., Md., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, Pa., expected elsewhere; Japan (of garden origin); cultivated worldwide. Hosta lancifolia produces an excellent ground cover with deep olive green leaves and vigorous vegetative growth. Since this species is of ancient horticultural origin and does not occur in the wild, it has been reduced to cultivar status in horticultural nomenclature as Hosta `Lancifolia´ (W. G. Schmid 1991).

Perennial herb with rhizomes flowering stem 40 cm - 0.5 m tall Leaves: basal, stalked, deep olive green, 10 - 17 cm long, 5 - 7.5 cm wide, lance-shaped with a narrowly pointed tip, strongly ribbed. Leaf stalks upright, green with purple dots at the base, 17 - 25 cm long. Inflorescence: a terminal, loose cluster (raceme) of ten to twenty flowers raised on an upright stalk. Flowers: nearly white to pale blue to purplish, 4 - 4.5 cm long, tube- to funnel-shaped, with six tepals that eventually spread and curve backwards. Stamens six. Anthers purple. Fruit: a capsule that rarely develops (sterile).

Similar species: Hosta lancifolia is a distinctive escape in the Chicago Region.

Flowering: late July to August

Habitat and ecology: Introduced from eastern Asia. A commonly planted species used locally for its flowers and as a ground cover. A rare escape from cultivation to ditches and dump areas having garden debris.

Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native

Etymology: Hosta is named after Nicholaus Thomas Host (1761-1834), a naturalist and the physician to the Emperor of Austria. Lancifolia means "lance-shaped leaves."

Author: The Morton Arboretum

With lanceolate lvs 3-5 cm wide and pale lilac to nearly white fls 4 cm, the tube gradually expanded into the obconic limb, also occasionally escape.

Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.

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