WSU Clark County Extension

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Bishop's Hat

Scientific name: Epimedium versicolor 'Sulphureum'

Type:Groundcovers Herbaceus
Plant Requirements
Zone:5 to 9
Sun:Partial shade to full shade
Plant Characteristics
Height:1 ft
Width:2 ft
Bloom:Showy flowers
Bloom Time:April
Bloom Color:Yellow
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Bishop’s Hat is best suited as a moderate ground cover that can grow well in shady dry sites under trees. It features bright green delicate leaves speckled in ruby red and chocolate brown. The leaves turn a vibrant green as the summer progresses before truning back to red in the fall. Also known as Barrenwort.

This herbaceous groundcover grows 1’ tall and can spread via underground rhizomes to 1.5’ wide. It bears compound leaves with 5-11 heart-shaped leaflets of various sizes. Some of the leaves will persist into the winter.

'Sulphureum' features short-spurred yellow flowers (pale yellow sepals, bright yellow petals and deep yellow spurs) which appear in racemes above the foliage in April.

Barrenwort does best in well-drained soil in partial to full shade. Prior to planting it is best to incorporate a healthy dose of organic matter. Once established it will survive drought. In the spring gardeners will cut back any foliage that survived the winter months in order to allow the new growth to look fresh.

None reported.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234