Hosta gracillima
aka Hime Iwa Gibōshi (Small rock hosta)

This species was first described by Dr. Fumio Maekawa in 1936. They are of variable proportions between miniature and small size plants and may grow up to 12 inches high by 31 inches wide under cultivation. It has shiny green, lance shaped leaves that have blunt bases. They bear purple, funnel shaped flowers with purple anthers in September. This species sets viable seeds.

The Genus Hosta by W. George Schmid (1991), says that this species is known as the "small rock hosta" in its native Japan. The species epithet, gracilis means gracefully slender which refers to its long, slender flowers. H. gracillima is sometimes confused with H. venusta "...but the flowering scape of H. gracillima is smooth while that of H. venusta has ridges, and this difference can serve as a positive identifier."

From the Field Guide to Hostas by Mark Zilis (2014), "...offers a combination of a very dense mound habit, small size, good growing habits, and late-blooming flowers. The latter characteristic should not be overlooked because there are few plants for the shade garden that bloom so late in the season."

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states in its Miniature Hostas chapter: "Site in light to moderate shade at the front of a raised border with accompanying small plants or, better still, in a dedicated border with other mini hostas, such as blue-leaved H. 'Bill Dress's Blue' or the green margined, yellow-centered H. 'Cracker Crumbs'. Just as delightful grown as a single specimen in a container. The parent of a number of other miniature hostas."

Mark Zilis' Field Guide to Hostas (2014) states that this species was found in Japan on "...hillsides..."

Nomenclature changes recommended in the 1991 book The Genus Hosta by W. George Schmid and accepted by The American Hosta Society would update names as follows: H. tortifrons is now H. 'Tortifrons' and H. tardiflora is H. 'Tardiflora'.

Mikiko Lockwood in an article on The Hosta Library titled, A Little About Japanese Hosta Terms defines the term iwa as rock, Iwa Gibōshi or H. longipes.

An article about Fall Bloomers by Herb Benedict and Jim Wilkins in The Hosta Journal (1991 Vol. 22 No. 1) states that, "Here are some of the fall blooming plants we grow...(listed in the order of bloom times in Michigan).


1) H. kikutii A medium size plant densely flowering with white blooms. The flowers are equally arranged around the central axis of the raceme so that the bloom scapes resembles a bottle brush or pony tail...We are growing two named varieties, 'Hirao-59' and 'Finlandia'.
2) H. 'Fall Bouquet' Small, green plant, leaves slightly undulated, lavender scape and blooms, floriferous.
3) H. longipes Small green plant, densely flowering with a tall stiff bloom scape. The flowers are lavender and the leaves are green.
4) H. gracillima Funnel-shaped, light lavender flowers. A miniature green plant, with shiny surface.
5) H. 'Iwa' Iwa means rock, and this plant was imported by Marjorie Soules, from Japan. It is a small green plant with lavender flowers.
6) H. tortifrons In the same section (Picnolepis) as H. longipes and H. rupifraga. Distinctive small plant, with twisted green leaves and lavender flowers.
7) H. 'Fused Veins' Small, green leaves often with ╝ inch margin which is a lighter green. The lance shaped leaves are undulated and the veins come together regularly. The flowers are mauve and the scape is sometimes branched.
8) H. rupifraga Small, medium green, with thick, leathery, ovate leaves. Densely flowering with purple flowers. 'Urajiro', 'Grand Slam', 'Maruba Iwa'
9) H. tardiflora   This small hosta is the last to bloom for us. Its leaves are shiny, dark green and lance shaped. The flowers are light lavender and borne in abundance on 12 inch scapes.

In answer to a question about growing smaller hostas that appeared in The Hosta Journal (2012 Vol. 43 No. 2), W. George Schmid of Georgia, author of The Genus Hosta (1991) commented, "My favorite minis are H. venusta, H. gracillima, a white-margined sport of H. gracillima named 'Kifukurin Ko Mame', H. pulchella and 'Blue Mouse Ears' ."


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