Epimedium (#530)
Common Name: bishop's hat 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Berberidaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White with purple pink at the base
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


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.

'#530' is of unknown parentage. It is distributed by Fairweather Gardens of Greenwich, New Jersey, who report that the original plant came from a nursery in China. It is a rhizomatous, clump-forming perennial that grows to 12” tall and spreads to form an attractive ground cover for shady areas. It is noted for its star-shaped flowers that are white with purple-pink bases. Flowers bloom in large clusters in spring.


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


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.