Epimediums – barrenworts – A Comparison
Below are all of the Epimediums we grow all collected on a single page so you can easily scroll through the list to make your selection. I’ve organised them along botanical lines, grouping related varieties together. Hybrids are all at the end. Clicking on any of the pictures will take you directly to the appropriate page in our online shop.
This subgenus contains the vast majority of species, all of which have leaves on the flowering stems. They come from all places across the globe that Epimedium grow with the exception of North Africa.
- Section i Diphyllon
- – Series A Campanulatae
The flowers of these varieties are all bell shaped
Epimedium campanulatum is something quite different with flowers of a very atypical shape, each one a small hanging bell formed mainly of the petals with the sepals reduced enormously. The flowers are carried 15-40 to the stem in an open upright pyramidal inflorescence.
- – Series B Davidianae
Epimedium davidii has startling fat goblet shaped flowers of brightest yellow with yellow horns. The sepals are reduced to a little fleck of rusty red which is picked up by the dark red of the new leaves. The flowers are 1 1/4 inches but the ‘tube’ is flared to make the goblet shaped centre which lends the flower more weight. Originally collected by the French missionary, Pere Armand David. From mountain woods in the Sichuan province.
A relatively recently introduced species, having been first collected from the Tianpingshan Mountains in Central China in 1994. Botanically it is notable for the bristle-like hairs on the underside of the leaves, but horticulturally it is the deeply contrasting flower combination of white sepals and rich mahogany petals that really stand out. In the wild it grows in half shade along the edges of woods and close to streams. It is a fairly vigorous runner and flowers to a height of about 15cm. Named in honour of Harold Epstein, President Emeritus of the American Rock Garden Society and a lifelong grower of Epimedium. Subgenus. Epimedium, Section Diphyllon, Series B Davidianae
Epimedium ilicifolium is in many ways similar to Epimedium wushanense, but a little smaller (despite being in a different series). The flowers have petals that curve downwards in a shade of pale translucent yellow, stronger towards the centre and on the very tip. They are carried in compound pyramidal inflorescences of up to 30 flowers. The leaves are fresh apple green, paler at first, eventually developing an overlay of red blotching. They are long and narrow with a quite spiky margin.
This is another relatively recent introduction, having been collected in 1993 by the great Mikinori Ogisu and later being given his name. Mikinori Ogisu is credited with doing more to further the study of Epimediums in China than any other man. He is a great pioneering Plant Hunter and botanist who has introduced many new species and reintroduced many other only known from herbarium specimens. Epimedium ogisui is a beautiful pure white species, quite close to Epimedium latisepalum from which it differs in small leaf details. The flowers are an essay in purity, the inner petals are curved horns whose open throats overlap so that one opposite pair enclose the other, all surrounding the bright yellow anthers. The sepals are broader, with long points forming a cross in the same pure white as the petals. It flowers to approximately 30cm tall and grows in the wild at heights of about 1000m in the Sichuan province.
- – Series C Dolichocerae
The flowers of Epimedium chlorandrum are typical of the series, being a wide spidery cross in an almost translucent pale lemon yellow. The leaves however are something to behold, being large with three arrow shaped leaflets, apple green with a gorgeous variable overlay of maroon blotching. Two botanical details separate this species form the others in its series. The first is that the sepals are not closely pressed to the petals, but instead arch back to give the flower a little more character. The second, which you can be excused for missing, is that the pollen is green rather than yellow. This feature does however give the species its name.
Collected by the great Japanese Epimedium expert Mikinori Ogisu you know that this is going to be something good. And so it is. The new leaves are just the most lovely shades of crimson, providing the perfect foil for the bright lemon yellow flowers. It doesn’t sound special when written down, but there is just something about the way that the leaves glow that is so right. The way the petals curve inwards can give the flowers the appearance of so many spiders dangling from the arching stems, but that is to deny their undoubted beauty. The flowers are a strong lemony yellow which look absolutely great against the broad foliage. Winter leaves can colour pale ochre with dark pink veins. From Hubei and Guizhou provinces, China. Named by Professor Stearn
A lovely plant that will add charm to any woodland planting, performing well in most shady spots,but also growing in quite dry areas. The leaves consist of three long pointed leaflets with quite a rough leathery texture. They emerge a subtle rusty brown and fade sea green with a glaucous underside, slowly spreading to make good ground cover. The flowers are a true delight, pale translucent pink, curiously clawed and hanging in tight clusters. Trim off old leaves in early spring to reveal the flowers better. 15cm tall. Introduced by Ogisu fron Sichuan, China.