On Nomenclature of H. SILVER STAR:
White-Margined H. rectifolia
(Ginbuchi Tachi Gib

W. George Schmid, Tucker, GA

A white-margined form of Hosta rectifolia is cultivated in Japan under the name Ginbuchi Tachi Gibōshi (= 銀縁タチ      ギボウシ= (Ginbuchi = silver- or white-margined; Tachi = rectifolia; Gibōshi = Hosta). This white-margined form was first described as the taxon H. rectifolia var. chionea by Maekawa (1938/1940). W. George Schmid (1991) reduced this taxon to cultivar rank as H. rectifolia ‘Chionea’. This sport is much like the white-margined form except the margins are yellow. In Japan it is also known as Kifukurin Tachi Gibōshi (= 黄覆輪 タチ ギボウシ= H. ‘Kifukurin Tachi’ Gibōshi (銀縁 = [gold-margined]). The yellow margin turns white by anthesis so the latter variant has been seen with either of the above names.

The word “buchi” used in H. ‘Ginbuchi Tachi’ (銀縁 タチ ギボウシ) needs explanation: Transliterated, “buchi” is articulated in Kanji as or in hiragana as ぶち, and is pronounced “buchi.” It means mottled, spotted, speckled, or dotted. Used in protracted sense as 斑入り, it means “with spotted or mottled variegation.” Clearly, neither H. ‘Ginbuchi Tachi’ (H. rectifolia ‘Ginbuchi’) nor H. ‘Kinbuchi Tachi’ (H. rectifolia ‘Kinbuchi’) are speckled so the Kanji used in these names is (in Hiragana ふち), pronounced “fuchi.” This Japanese character means edge, margin, or surrounding edge, which fits these named variegated sports perfectly. Because there are many different ways to write and transliterate Japanese, Maekawa’s “buti” became “buchi” but really means “fuchi,” i.e., transliterates to “margin.” Thus, in these cases “Ginbuchi” stands for silver-margined and “Kinbuchi” stands for gold-margined.

As a result, Western cultivar names with equivalent meanings were used. For example, H. rectifolia ‘Kifukurin’ is used for the yellow-margined and H. rectifolia ‘Shirofukurin’ stands for the white-margined sport. These names are correct nomenclature according to the rules of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP; Scripta Horticulturae; No. 10), but the original Japanese cultivar names are still being used in Western books and periodicals.

As an example, some of the nomenclature in the classic The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (Rochelle, Illinois: Q & Z Nursery, 2009; see pages 750-753) became victim to this language difficulty. To wit, some of the transliterations included for sports of the species H. rectifolia are illegitimate according to the ICNCP since they duplicate the Japanese species name (i.e., Tachi [Gibōshi] = [Hosta] rectifolia) in the entire name of the cultivar.

These linguistic adversities caused Q & Z Nursery to assign a Western language trade name, H. SILVER STAR,  for H. 'Ginbuchi Tachi’ as explained in Warren Pollock’s "What's in a Hosta Name?" in the Summer 2013 THJ, 44.2, page 8.


Q & Z Nursery advertises this hosta as 

H. SILVER STAR (H. rectifolia 'Ginbuchi Tachi'),

and this was the epithet in Warren’s item when he submitted it to The Hosta Journal.  But this epithet is incorrect.  

When I proofread his manuscript, I noted this and it was changed to 

H. SILVER STAR (H. 'Ginbuchi Tachi'). 

Why was this required?

SILVER STAR, being a trade name, correctly is in all-caps, as explained by Warren and Mark Zilis. But (H. rectifolia 'Ginbuchi Tachi') after H. SILVER STAR is not correct. This is because the species name “Tachi” is repeated in the cultivar name since Tachi is the Japanese equivalent to H. rectifolia. In other words, there is redundancy. So properly it should be just (H. 'Ginbuchi Tachi') after H. SILVER STAR.

Likewise, in advertisements of this cultivar and on labels it should also be H. SILVER STAR (H. ‘Ginbuchi Tachi’), not H. SILVER STAR (H. rectifolia ‘Ginbuchi Tachi’).

This clarification is provided as a reminder that many variegated Hosta sports found in the wild in Japan were given botanical binomials that gave the impression that they are species or botanical varieties of species. They are in fact non-reproducing sports, which have names that are much older than the botanical names. For this reason these cultivars should be identified by the original names they are known in the country of origin.

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