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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Hosta ‘Vulcan’: New from Bali-Hai Nursery

Posted by Graham Rice on 08 Aug 2009 at 11:41 AM

Hosta 'Vulcan' - new from Bali-Hai Nursery. Image: ©Bali-Hai NurseryBack in 1999, Kirk Brill, a hosta breeder over in Iowa (most new hostas come from the USA) introduced a sport of the old favourite ‘Gold Standard'.  ‘Gold Standard' is almost completely yellow with a narrow green margin, the new sport has a wider margin and a brilliant yellow centre making a dramatic contrast. It's thought to be a tetraploid (with double the number of chromosomes of most hostas) as so is more vigorous and with thicker foliage.

Kirk Brill is a Trekkie, a fanatical Star Trek fan, so he named his new hosta ‘Captain Kirk'. A few years later another hosta breeder, Mark Zilis of Illinois, noticed a sport on a plant of ‘Captain Kirk' which had a white centre instead of a yellow centre and he called it ‘Enterprise'. He also spotted a form which is, in effect, ‘Captain Kirk' in reverse - green centre, yellow edge - he called it ‘Starship'. Get the drift?

Now we have another new sport derived from ‘Captain Kirk', also with a white centre and a green edge, called ‘Vulcan'. This is from another noted American hosta breeder, Hans Hansen of Minnesota and is similar to ‘Enterprise' with the same brilliant colouring and robust leaf substance which tends to deter slugs. It also features yellow streaks around the boundary between the white centre and green edge which gives it extra style.

It's interesting that these breeders have all honoured the original by sticking to the theme. So now you can - to coin a cliché - boldly go where no one has gone before and plant a whole Star Trek hosta garden.

You can order Hosta ‘Vulcan' from Bali-Hai Nursery.



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