Hosta, part of the Lily family, has numerous recognized species, virtually all native to Japan. The currently used name was introduced in 1812, in honor of a royal physician, Nicholaus Thomas Host (1761-1834).
The post-World War II gardening world has witnessed an astonishing explosion of interest in these treasured plants. And new species of Hosta are still being found. A 1985 plant-hunting expedition to the remotest regions of the Japanese archipelago uncovered two previously unknown species.
With their extraordinary hardiness and affinity for cool, shady haunts, Hostas offer ornamental foliage in silvery-blue, yellow-green, and rich green; all manner of variegation, and a wide variety of leaf sizes and shapes.
Hostas are exceedingly popular perennials in today's gardens due to their versatility in the landscape. Their subtle colors, tall flower scapes, and broad, coarse leaves fill a niche in garden designs that few other plants can achieve.