The Hosta Dictionary posted by the American Hosta Society describes rhizomatous hostas as those which have long-reaching, underground horizontal stems and a loosely spreading habit.
When asked which hostas are rhizomatous, W. George Schmid provided the following information:
"The short answer is that all hostas are rhizomatous plants."
"A rhizome is a horizontal stem of a plant found underground, sending out roots and shoots from its nodes. Rhizomes may also be referred to as creeping rootstalks. If a rhizome is composed of several rhizomatous, interconnected creeping roots, each piece may be able to give rise to new plants. This is a process known as vegetative reproduction and is used by gardeners to propagate hostas because the resulting plants are clones of the original plant. This process is called root (or rhizome) division. When digging different cultivars, the rhizome is often one contiguous mass, but it may also be a mass of smaller interconnected tubular rhizomes that look like a mass of stolons, but these are not stolons in the strict sense. "
"A stolon is similar to a rhizome, but, unlike a rhizome which is the main stem of the plant, a stolon is a branch that sprouts from an existing stem, has long internodes, and generates new shoots at the end. In general, rhizomes have short internodes; they send out roots from the bottom of the nodes and new upward-growing shoots from the top of the nodes. It is also a method of reproduction for plants."
"Stolons, on the other hand, are branches of the plant which grow at the soil surface or below ground and can form new plants at the ends or at the nodes. Stolons are often called runners. Imprecisely, they are stems that run atop or just under the ground; more specifically, a stolon is a horizontal shoot from a plant that grows on top of or below the soil surface with the ability to produce new clones of the same plant from buds at the tip."
"Some hostas have differently shaped rhizomes depending on which parent species is involved. In the case of 'Golden Tiara', H. nakaiana was the parent. This species has a rhizome that has a fast growth rate and quickly makes spreading interconnected runners, forming one rhizome. This is still called a rhizome, but one that is sending out smaller, usually elongated parts of stem roots and shoots. H. sieboldii is another example, which has a non-contiguous looking, spreading rhizome connected together. Looking like stolons, they are not, but are elongated rhizomes that produce plants from the nodes. Such spreading rhizomes seen in hostas often have a fast growth rate."
"Rhizomes often grow into very large contiguous masses and the center part of such rhizomes dies, while the still living parts of the rhizome form a ring-shaped plant. Gardeners often replace the dead center part with a living rhizome to maintain the huge plant as a single clump. Eventually the ring-shaped rhizome breaks up and forms a ring on non-connected plants, all with their own rhizome."
While all hosta are rhizomatous in the technical sense, this feature is more obvious in some species and cultivars that have proportionately long underground runners which extend for a considerable distance from one shoot to the next. At a glance, these plants are distinguishable from other clump-forming hostas in that they display a rather open, spreading habit. The following list is a compilation of species and cultivars which exhibit this characteristic.
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