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Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum' Plant of Merit

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Kemper Code:  C650

Common Name: bishop's hat
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Berberidaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: None
Height: 0.75 to 1 foot
Spread: 0.75 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: April   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Yellow
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

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:

This epimedium hybrid (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. '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. Epimediums are commonly called bishop's hat or barrenwort.


No serious insect or disease problems.


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.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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