Family: Berberidaceae

These low-growing, deciduous or evergreen perennials provide pretty groundcover for shaded, moist areas as under trees or in rock gardens. They have arrow or heart-shaped leaves, attractively marked in different colours through the year, and delicate flowers in early spring and summer. The flowers are pretty birt fairly insignificant.


E. diphyllum, to 20 cm (8 in), has small, white, pendulous flowers.

E. grandiflo­rum, to 30 cm (12 in), produces white, pink, purple or yellow flowers. The foliage changes from deep green in summer to rich red and gold in autumn, to pale pink and yellow tints in spring.

E. pinnatum, zone 6, to 30 cm (12 in), has yellow and purple flowers.

E. x rubrum, to 30 cm (12 in), has strikingly coloured foliage and red and yellow flowers.

E. x versicolor pro­duces yellow flowers with rose-coloured sepals. The young leaves are marked with red.

E. x youngianum, to 30 cm (12 in), has drooping, white or pink flowers. 'Niveum' has pure white flowers; 'Roseum' has pinkish mauve flowers.


Epimedium can be grown in any soil, but it prefers a sandy loam, with added leaf mould. Plant in autumn or spring and prune just before the new growth begins in spring. Provide plentiful water in dry spring or summer weather. Epimedium helps to control weeds by blanketing the ground. Propagate by division of the rhizomes in autumn or from seed.


Cool, moist temperate and mild inland areas.

Epidendrum      Epiphyllum