Epimedium × versicolor 'Sulphureum'
Common Name: bishop's hat 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Berberidaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers loose, organically rich loams with even moisture in part shade. Tolerates drought once established. Rhizomatous perennial which spreads faster than most other epimediums. Evergreen in mild winter climates. Cut back any remaining old foliage in late winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Epimedium × versicolor, sometimes commonly called bicolor barrenwort, is a cross between E. grandiflorum and E. pinnatum subsp. colchicum. It is a rhizomatous, clump-forming perennial which typically grows 8-12" tall and is primarily used as a ground cover or edger in shady or woodland areas.

Genus name is of unclear origin and meaning but the Greeks used epimedion for a very different plant.

Specific epithet means variously colored.

Epimediums are commonly called bishop's hat or barrenwort.

'Sulphureum' features short-spurred yellow flowers (pale yellow sepals, bright yellow petals and deep yellow spurs) which appear in racemes above the foliage in spring. Compound, medium green leaves with pointed, spiny-toothed, heart-shaped leaflets (to 3" long) on wiry stems form attractive foliage mounds. New leaves of this cultivar usually emerge reddish tinged in spring, mature to green and turn reddish in fall.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids. Mosaic virus.


Small area ground cover or edger for shady areas. Mass in woodland gardens, wild gardens or naturalized areas. Also effective in partially shaded areas of rock gardens and border fronts. Grows well under trees. Edger for paths and walkways.