Barrenwort Epimedium × perralchicum

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care


Epimedium × perralchicum, commonly known as the barrenwort, is a perennial plant known for its attractive foliage and delicate flowers. Its leaves are heart-shaped with a leathery texture, often featuring a mottled pattern of green with varying shades that can include bronzy tones, especially when the leaves emerge in spring. These leaves may sometimes turn reddish-brown in the fall, adding to the plant’s seasonal interest. Come springtime, barrenwort produces sprays of small, intricate flowers that hover above the foliage like dainty little fairy wings. The blooms typically have four outer petals and four inner sepals, creating a unique appearance. The flowers can exhibit a variety of colors, often ranging from pale yellow to vibrant reds, and their shape gives them a whimsical, almost spider-like appearance. The barrenwort is also appreciated for its ground-covering ability, with the foliage forming a dense, weed-suppressing mat. Its overall texture adds a soft yet structured element to the garden, blending well with other shade-loving plants. Despite its delicate appearance, barrenwort is a hardy plant that is often used in landscaping for its ornamental leaves and charming flowers that appear to dance above the greenery.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Frohnleiten Barrenwort

    • Common names

      Epimedium × perralderianum, Epimedium × warleyense.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Epimedium × perralchicum, commonly known as Frohnleiten barrenwort, does not have a widespread reputation for being toxic to humans. There are no well-documented cases of poisoning from ingestion of this plant. Consequently, no specific symptoms of poisoning or toxicity are commonly reported. As with any plant, individual sensitivities can vary, and it is generally advised to avoid ingesting plants not known to be edible.

    • To pets

      Epimedium × perralchicum, also referred to as Frohnleiten barrenwort, is not known to be toxic to pets. There is little information suggesting that consumption of this plant causes any harmful effects in domestic animals such as cats and dogs. While no specific symptoms of poisoning have been widely reported, it is always prudent to monitor pets for any signs of illness after ingesting unfamiliar plants and to consult with a veterinarian if concerns arise.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attractive Foliage: Epimedium × perralchicum, commonly known as barrenwort, features heart-shaped leaves that can add a lush, decorative touch to gardens and landscaping.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, barrenwort can tolerate periods of dryness, making it suitable for xeriscaping or gardens that receive limited water.
    • Shade Tolerance: Barrenwort is well-suited to grow in shaded areas where many other plants struggle, thus it can beautify spaces under trees or on the north side of buildings.
    • Ground Cover: Its spreading habit allows it to cover ground effectively, suppressing weeds and minimizing soil erosion in garden beds.
    • Low Maintenance: Barrenwort requires minimal upkeep, making it a convenient choice for gardeners looking for attractive yet easy-to-care-for plants.
    • Spring Blooms: It produces delicate flowers in the spring, adding a splash of color to the garden when many plants are just beginning to recover from winter.
    • Winter Interest: Some varieties of barrenwort retain their leaves in mild winters, providing greenery and visual interest even in the colder months.
    • Wildlife Support: The plant offers nectar to early-season pollinators, making it a beneficial addition to wildlife gardens.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Epimedium × perralchicum, commonly known as barrenwort, can be used as a ground cover in shady areas where few other plants can thrive due to its dense foliage that suppresses weed growth.
    • Barrenwort may contribute to erosion control on shallow slopes due to its root structure and ability to form a dense mat.
    • Barrenwort leaves are sometimes used in floral arrangements as filler due to their attractive shape and color, especially when they turn reddish in fall.
    • The dried leaves of barrenwort can be used as a natural confetti at weddings and celebrations, providing an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic materials.
    • As a companion plant, barrenwort can help define the borders of garden paths due to its mounding growth habit and attractive foliage.
    • Barrenwort is planted in fairy gardens for aesthetic purposes thanks to its delicate flowers and leaves that lend a whimsical touch.
    • Gardeners may use barrenwort as a living mulch to maintain soil moisture and temperature around taller, more delicate plants.
    • In artistic representations, barrenwort with its heart-shaped leaves can embody themes of love and natural beauty when depicted in paintings or crafts.
    • Barrenwort is used as a teaching tool in botanical education to demonstrate leaf and flower evolution in response to shady environments.
    • The plant's ability to adapt to low light conditions makes it a prime candidate for greening dim urban spaces such as alleyways and north-facing walls.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Barrenwort is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Barrenwort is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Lust and Love: Epimedium, commonly known as "Barrenwort," is often associated with aphrodisiac properties due to its reputed use in traditional medicine to enhance sexual function and desire.
    • Vitality and Longevity: Barrenwort is believed to symbolize vitality and long life, likely stemming from its medicinal use in promoting overall health and combating fatigue.
    • Resilience: With its ability to thrive in tough soil conditions and shady environments, Barrenwort often represents the ability to overcome challenging situations and remain strong.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Barrenwort (Epimedium × perralchicum) needs to be watered regularly, especially during the growing season in spring and early summer. It prefers a consistent level of soil moisture, so checking the top inch of soil for dryness and watering when it feels dry to the touch is the best method. Typically, the Barrenwort requires about 1 inch of water per week either from rainfall or manual watering. During particularly hot or dry periods, you may need to water twice a week to maintain moisture levels, with each watering session providing half a gallon to a gallon of water depending on the size of the plant and its environment.

  • sunLight

    Barrenwort thrives best in partial shade to full shade conditions. This makes it an ideal plant for spots under trees, on the north side of buildings, or any location where it will be protected from the direct, harsh sun especially during peak afternoon hours. The plant can tolerate some morning sunlight, but too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and affect the growth of this woodland perennial.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Barrenwort is a hardy plant that can survive in temperatures ranging from 5 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit but it grows best between 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Protection from extreme temperature fluctuations is beneficial, and mulching can help to insulate roots in areas that experience very low winter temperatures.

  • scissorsPruning

    Barrenwort doesn't usually require regular pruning but doing so can encourage healthier growth and flowering. Prune back any dead or damaged foliage in early spring before new growth starts, and cut back the entire plant after flowering if foliage looks tattered to stimulate a fresh flush of leaves. Pruning is usually done once a year, and the best time is when you see new growth beginning to emerge.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Barrenwort requires well-drained, humus-rich soil with a pH ranging from slightly acidic to neutral. A mix with compost and leaf mold is ideal for this plant to thrive.

  • plantRepotting

    Barrenwort does not need frequent repotting; do it every three to five years, or when it outgrows its container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Barrenworts prefer moderate humidity levels but are quite adaptable and do not require specific humidity conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Barrenwort in bright, indirect light and keep the soil moist.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Barrenwort in shade to partial shade, with shelter from harsh sun.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Epimedium × perralchicum, often known as barrenwort, begins its life cycle as a seed which germinates in spring, requiring warm and moist conditions. Seedlings develop into juvenile plants with characteristic heart-shaped leaves. As the plant matures, it forms an expanding clump via rhizomes, reaching the vegetative stage where it develops the full structure including foliage and stems. During spring, barrenwort enters the reproductive phase, producing small, intricate flowers that range in color from yellow to red, which are pollinated by insects. After pollination and fertilization, the plant produces dry, dehiscent fruit containing seeds that are dispersed by gravity or animals. Over the winter, barrenwort enters a period of dormancy, with foliage dying back to ground level, only to regrow and repeat the cycle the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagating Epimedium × perralderianum, commonly known as Barrenwort or Bishop's Hat, is by division. This is typically done in the late summer to early fall, after the flowering period and before the onset of winter. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the plant, ensuring that you get as much of the root system as possible. Then, using a sharp knife or spade, divide the plant into smaller sections, each with several growth points and a portion of the root system. Replant the divisions immediately at the same soil depth they were previously growing, and water them thoroughly. Divisions should be spaced about 12 inches (approximately 30 centimeters) apart to allow enough room for growth. This method allows for relatively fast propagation and the new plants will usually flower in the following growing season.