Origin of Paul Aden's Registrations
by AHS Cultivar Origination Commission
I April 2012, The American Hosta Society president, Doug Beilstein, appointed the AHS Cultivar Origination Commission with this mission:

Investigate origins of Paul Aden’s registrations and report findings to the International Registrar for the Genus Hosta for modifying The Hosta Registry.

The Commission’s first report was published in 2012 issue of The Online Hosta Journal and reprinted in Registration 2012 issue of The Hosta Journal (Vol. 44, No. R, p. 5). The late Florence M. Shaw was credited as originator of 16 hostas, and Kevin C. Vaughn as originator of 8 hostas, registered by the late Paul Aden. Examples are:

 H. ‘Blue Angel’ (F. Shaw - 1986),
H. ‘Blue Umbrellas’ (F. Shaw - 1978),
H. ‘Fragrant Blue’ (K. Vaughn - 1988),
H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ (K. Vaughn - 1982),
H. ‘Love Pat’ (F. Shaw - 1978),
H. ‘So Sweet’ (K. Vaughn - 1986),
H. ‘Sum and Substance’ (F. Shaw - 1980) and
H. ‘Zounds’ (F. Shaw - (1978).

Parentage of Mrs. Shaw’s and Dr. Vaughn’s hostas was not addressed in the 2012 report. Unfortunately, breeding records are lost and the correct pod and pollen parents cannot be identified. Accordingly, the Commission now has recommended in The Hosta Registry: 

Parentage of Shaw’s and Vaughn’s originations be listed as Selected seedling. Parentages in Aden’s registrations are to be deleted. 

The 2012 report credited “Asami” as originator of H. ‘On Stage’, with a note that ‘On Stage’ is the same hosta as ‘Chōkō Nishiki’. Originator of ‘Chōkō Nishiki’ was possibly thought to be Mr. Hisatoyo Asami of Tokyo, a long-time member of The American Hosta Society. An inquiry to Mr. Hisatoyo Asami determined that though he purchased the hosta around 1980, he was not its discoverer or originator. Furthermore, Mr. Asami does not know who named it. Accordingly, the Commission now has recommended in The Hosta Registry:

Originator of ‘On Stage’ be listed as Unknown.

The Commission continued its investigations of hostas registered by and for Paul Aden in 2013. Findings and recommendations are reported here.

The Hosta Registry lists three (3) Tardianas that Aden registered for the late Eric Smith: H. ‘Blue Moon’ (1976), H. ‘Dorset Blue’ (1977), and H. ‘Harmony’ (1976). In fact, Aden registered five (5) Tardianas for Smith. H. ‘Hadspen Blue’ and ‘Hadspen Heron’ were incorrectly listed in The Hosta Registry with Peter Ruh as registrant. Paul Aden was the actual registrant. (See ‘Hadspen Blue’ and ‘Hadspen Heron’ in Mark Zilis’s The Hostapedia.) Peter Ruh was not involved with hosta registrations in 1976 and 1977. Accordingly, the Commission recommended in The Hosta Registry:

Registrant of ‘Hadspen Blue’ (1977) and ‘Hadspen Heron’ (1977) be corrected and P. Aden be cited as registrant.

Interestingly, the registrations of these Tardianas do not credit Eric Smith as originator. The Commission believed this was an opportune time for correction, and, accordingly, recommended in The Hosta Registry:

E. Smith be recognized as originator of ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Dorset Blue’, ‘Hadspen Blue’, ‘Hadspen Heron’, and ‘Harmony’ in their registrations.

Many Aden registrations have parentage with Aden numbered names, like Aden 365 and [H. ‘Aden 81-B1’ × H. ‘Aden 83-B4’]. They have no physical reality and should be deleted and replaced with Unknown.

On the other hand, some registrations have parentage with proper cultivar and species names. Examples are: 

[H. ‘Blue Tiers’ × H. ‘Blue Angel’] for H. ‘Big Mama’,
[Hybrid of H. Tardiana Group] for H. ‘Blessings’,
[Sport of H. Amy Aden’] for H. ‘Blonde Elf’,
[Hybrid of H. ‘Tokudama’] for H. ‘Blue Cadet’ and
[Hybrid of H. sieboldiana] for H. ‘Blue Mammoth’.

Likely, some of these parentages are not correct, e.g., ‘Big Mama’, ‘Blessings’, and ‘Blue Cadet’. Still, they have historical significance and should be retained. Accordingly, the Commission recommended in The Hosta Registry:

Except for hostas credited with Shaw and Vaughn as originations, Aden registrations not having proper cultivar or species names for parentage be listed as Parentage Unknown.

Also, the Commission recommended in The Hosta Registry:

Original registration years of Aden registrations be retained, with mention of alteration year.

Nineteen (19) hostas have “Abba” in their cultivar names. This was Paul Aden’s personal identifier and apparently means “father”; in other words, a title of honor. Nine (9) “Abba”-named cultivars were registered by Aden in 1990 and 10 were registered for Aden by Mark Zilis in 2010. The Commission concluded that all “Abba”-named hostas should be credited to Paul Aden. Accordingly, the Commission recommended in The Hosta Registry:

P. Aden be credited as originator of “Abba”-hostas registered in 1990.
P. Aden be retained as originator of "Abba"-hostas registered in 2010.

Following are “Abba”-hostas with recommended parentage.  Those with * already were registered with P. Aden as originator. 

  'Abba Alive'


  'Abba Aloft'

Sport of H. 'Sun Power'

  'Abba at Large'

Sport of H. 'Sun Power'

  'Abba Blue Plus'


*'Abba Diane Reek'


  'Abba Double Header'


  'Abba Fit'


*'Abba Flower Mound'


*'Abba Fragrant Backscratcher'


*'Abba Fragrant Cloud'


*'Abba Irresistible'


  'Abba Little Showoff'


  'Abba Nova'


*'Abba Ready'

Sport of H. 'Invincible'

*'Abba Rough'

Hybrid of H. 'Tokudama'

*'Abba Soul Mate'

Sport of H. 'Halcyon'

  'Abba Spellbinder'


  'Abba Tops'


*'Abba Windows'


Of the more than 100 remaining Paul Aden-registrations in The Hosta Registry, one thing seems certain: many did not originate with Paul. Likely originators could be Florence Shaw, Kevin Vaughn, Cynthia and Chet Tompkins, and Eric Smith, the famous English plantsman. Of course, some likely could be Aden’s own creations. Guesses of possible originators abounded, but there was a paucity of reliable information. Conclusive evidence rarely was available. Thus, additional recommendations were sparse.

These recommendations in the Hosta Registry were made by the Commission:

P. Aden be credited as originator of H.  ‘Shade Fanfare’. It is a sport of ‘Flamboyant’, found in tissue culture.

Chet (Ch.) Tompkins be credited as originator of H. ‘Flamboyant’ and H. ‘Floradora’.  Parentage of both is Unknown.

Though it is not an Aden registration, H. ‘Antioch’, registered by Peter Ruh and Paul Hofer, was included in the Commission’s discussion. Pete Ruh has determined that Cynthia Tompkins originated this hosta; see information in The Hostapedia, p. 76. Accordingly, the Commission recommended in The Hosta Registry:

Cynthia (Cy.) Tompkins be credited as originator of H. ‘Antioch’. Parentage is Unknown. P. Ruh and P. Hofer remain credited as nominants and registrants.

Having completed its mission, the Commission submitted this final report to the Hosta Registrar on October 8, 2013.  

AHS Cultivar Origination Commission

            Tom Micheletti, Chair
            Warren I. Pollock
            W. George Schmid
            Mark R. Zilis

Paul Aden in “Garden of Aden,” Baldwin, New York, June 2007. Photo by Tom Micheletti.

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