From the Missouri Botanical Garden website:
“Hosta sieboldiana is a large hosta native to Japan. It is a clump-forming perennial that typically matures in a spreading foliage mound to 24″ tall and to 48-60″ wide. Thick, puckered, cupped, wide-oval, green leaves (to 14” long and 12” wide) have distinctive veining, cuspidate tips and cordate lobes. Leaves often emerge smoky-blue in spring. Funnel-shaped, mostly white (sometimes lilac tinged at the base) flowers appear in early to mid summer in racemes located slightly below to slightly above the foliage atop upright leafy scapes rising to 25″ tall.”
Hosta is a member of the Asparagus family and all species are edible! In this country we value them for their ornamental foliage and tough demeanor, but in Asia they are frequently grown as food – called “Urui” when used as a vegetable.
Harvest “hostons” (Hosta shoots) in the spring before the leaves have finished unfurling, while they are still tender, either by cutting or snapping them off. You can harvest as much as a third of the shoots without affecting the plant’s vigor. Don’t dally – the season is fairly short – leaves get tough and bitter as they mature, and flavor is best when they are young.
Later this year we will have Hosta ‘Sagae’ (Hosta of the Year 2000) available – it’s very popular for its cream-margined glaucous leaves. It was actually found in a field of H. fluctuans being grown for food in Japan not in a ornamental horticulturist’s garden.