Epimedium 'Tama-no-genpei'
Common Name: bishop's hat
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Berberidaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Reddish-purple and white (bicolored)
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, acidic, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers loose, organically rich loams with consistent moisture in part shade (sun-dappled or morning sun). Foliage will usually burn in full afternoon sun. Tolerates full shade. Also tolerates drought and dry shade (rhizomes hold moisture) once established. Intolerant of alkaline soils. Clumps spread somewhat slowly but will form attractive colonies over time.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Epimedium is a genus of 20-30 species of evergreen and deciduous, rhizomatous perennials from the Mediterranean to East Asia. Many make excellent groundcovers for shady areas. Epimediums have a number of common names, including barrenwort, bishop’s hat, bishop’s mitre and fairy wings.

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

'Tama No Genpei' typically grows 12-16" tall. It features long-spurred, bicolored flowers (reddish-purple and white) which appear in spring above the foliage and superficially resemble a bishop's hat. Compound (biternate to triternate) medium green leaves with toothed, triangular to heart-shaped leaflets (to 3" long) on wiry stems form dense foliage mounds. New leaves in spring emerge purplish maturing to green.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Mosaic virus (transmitted by aphids) is the main disease problem.

Garden Uses

Ground cover or edger for shady areas with tolerance for dry shade once established. 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.