(Salisbury) Stearn, Gard. Chron., ser. 3. 90: 27. 1931.
Bryocles ventricosa Salisbury, Trans. Hort. Soc. London 1: 335. 1812; Niobe caerulea (Andrews) Nash
Plants forming clumps 80—90 × 50 cm; rhizomes compact. Leaves: petiole spreading horizontally, light green with purple streaks at base, deeply grooved, 18—25 cm; blade lustrous dark green, broadly ovate to cordate, 20—30 × 15—20 cm, apex acuminate; veins in 7—9 lateral pairs. Scape 80—95 cm. Inflorescences: racemes stiffly erect, flushed red at base, 20—30-flowered, to 1 m; floral bracts broad, pale green, white at base; sterile bract 1, leafy, occurring at midpoint. Flowers 4—5.5 cm, not fragrant; perianth urceolate-cylindric; tepals bluish purple, lobes not recurved; anthers spotted purple. Capsules short, triangular, stubby, apex blunt. 2n = 120.
Flowering summer (July). Disturbed open areas; 0--500 m; introduced; Conn., Del., Ky., Md., Mass., Mich., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., Vt., Va., W.Va., expected elsewhere; China; cultivated worldwide.
Hosta ventricosa, a natural tetraploid, undergoes pseudogamous apomixis and therefore breeds true, but is of no use as a seed parent in hybridizing. It can, however, act as a pollen parent. Like H. plantaginea, this species was an early introduction from China.