Dark-Flowered Hostas

What flower colors are possible in the Genus Hosta?

In The Hosta Journal, Volume 36, Number 1, Kevin Vaughn wrote,

Hosta blossoms contain a glycoside of malvidin, one of the most structurally complex of the anthocyanin pigments. Based on what has taken place in other genera, mutations affecting the synthesis of the pigment are possible that could result in true blue, true scarlet and pink blossoms. A sport of 'Gold Edger' was recently discovered by Paul Aden, with significantly more pink blossoms than the original. This may represent a mutation from malvidin to peonidin (the pigment of peonies). Clearly, the potential variability of blossom color has not been touched in Hosta. We may have more colours than are now available in daylilies.

Some of the darkest flowers in the world of hostas have been those on seedlings hybridized by Jim Spence (aka Leafmould) of Peterborough, Ontario. In 2007, Jim posted photos of a very dark-flowered hosta seedling on the Hallson Hosta Forum. Jim provided the following description:

This bloom has caused quite a stir. Some experts flew over here just to see this seedling! It was warm enough to take it outside for a thorough exam....

The judgement is in, this flower looks black.... This black bloom looks to be black in most light conditions on the outer corolla and only in the interior can you see purple with macro photography under intense light.

I have a group of hybrid seedlings with bright yellow foliage colours with 'Black Star' type pigment on the flowers...('Texas Tea') think Beverly Hillbillies, ('Black Gold'). The addition of pollen from this black one will push them over the edge.

Can you imagine a large grouping of hot yellow seedlings, all blooming at once with coal black blooms next summer? Because of the dark colour of these blooms, the background seems to be darker and the camera focuses on the lighter background, leaving the flower blurry. Anyways, I took some shots using a white background and one where it sits.

Jim from the Hills, excited in the Dungeon

Below is a list of other hostas which are said to have dark-colored flowers:

'Amethyst Star'
'Anne Arett'
'Beet Salad'
'Bells of Edinborough'
'Betsy King'
'Black Star'
'Blackberry Tart'
'Bold Ribbons'
clausa var. normalis
'Colesburg Danielle Marie'
'Edgar Allan Poe'
'Fall Bouquet'
'Ginko Craig'
'Green Sparkler'
'Kiwi Black Magic'
'Marilyn's Petticoat'
'Paradise Sunset'
'Purple Lady Fingers'
'Raspberries and Cream'
'Raspberry Sorbet'
rectifolia f. pruinosa
'Red Dragon'
'Rosedale Dough Boy'
'Rubies and Ruffles'
'Sugar Babe'
'Tiffany Tune'
'Winnebago Raven'

The description 'dark' is of course a somewhat subjective one and to put things into perspective a few pictures of a select few on the above list taken in the webmaster's garden are perhaps in order.

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