Epimedium × warleyense
Common Name: bishop's hat
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Berberidaceae
Native Range: Garden origin
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Coppery orange-red and yellow
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers rich, organic soils with even moisture in part shade. Spreads by underground rhizomes. Competes well with tree roots. In cold winter climates, cut back what is left of the foliage in late winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Epimedium × warleyense is a somewhat loose, rhizomatous perennial growing to 1' tall. Loose clusters of complex flowers with coppery orange-red inner sepals and spurred yellow petals, somewhat resembling small columbines, appear in spring on wiry stems. Light green, basal foliage (5-9 heart-shaped leaflets) usually appears after flowering, but is evergreen in warm winter climates. Foliage is often tinged with purple on emerging.

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

Specific epithet to Warley Place, Brentwood, Essex, England.

Epimediums have a number of common names, including bishop’s hat, bishop’s mitre, barrenwort and fairy wings.

Problems

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

Garden Uses

May be massed as a ground cover for shady spots, but loose habit may make plant more appropriate for wild garden or naturalistic plantings. Grows well under trees. Also may be used in rock gardens or mixed shady plantings.