Barrenwort, Bishop’s Hat

It is grown primarily for its foliage – leathery, heart-shaped leaves borne on wiry stems and changing colour as the season progresses, pink-veined in spring and overall bronze in autumn. The flowers are small and somewhat insignificant, but they appear before the new leaves – pink, red, yellow, purple or white blooms on long stalks. Do not remove the foliage in autumn; it will remain on the plants over winter.

VARIETIES: Several species of Barrenwort are available – the basic details are height 9 in., spacing 1 ft.

Flowering period: April-May. E. warleyense bears coppery flowers, E. perralderianum produces sprays of yellow blooms in June. E. versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ is another yellow-flowering variety and the largest-flowering type is E.grandiflorum(1 in. blooms) ThebrightestEpimediumisprobably E. pinnatum colchicum (bright yellow flowers, red autumn foliage).

SITE AND SOIL: Any reasonable garden soil will do – thrives best in partial shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring. ‘

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