Barrenwort Epimedium × perralchicum 'Fröhnleiten'

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


Epimedium × perralchicum 'Fröhnleiten', commonly known as barrenwort, is a visually striking perennial plant. Its leaves emerge in spring with a bronzy tint before maturing to a vibrant green. Each leaflet is heart-shaped and sometimes slightly spiny, creating a dense and attractive ground cover. Unlike other varieties whose foliage may go dormant, barrenwort 'Fröhnleiten' often retains its leaves through milder winters, providing year-round interest. In the spring, barrenwort produces an abundance of small, yellow flowers that hover above the foliage on wiry stems, giving them a delicate, airy appearance. These blossoms have a unique structure with a four-petal layout that resembles a tiny cross or a fairy wing. The flowers have spurred petals, contributing to the whimsical look of the bloom cluster. As the seasons change, the leaves also shift in color, often displaying rich hues of red and orange during the autumn, which adds another layer of beauty to the plant's already charming appearance. Overall, barrenwort 'Fröhnleiten' is known for its ornamental leaves, enchanting flowers, and exceptional seasonal interest that makes it a captivating addition to garden spaces.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Barrenwort, Bishop's Hat, Fairy Wings, Horny Goat Weed

    • Common names

      Epimedium × perralchicum 'Fröhnleiten'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as Barrenwort is not widely recognized as toxic to humans. There are no well-documented cases of Barrenwort poisoning in humans, and it is typically considered safe when touched or ingested in small quantities. However, as with any plant, individual allergies and reactions can occur, so it is always prudent to exercise caution when handling or ingesting plant materials that are not commonly used as food.

    • To pets

      Barrenwort is not generally known to be toxic to pets. It does not typically appear on lists of poisonous plants for animals such as dogs and cats, and there is no significant evidence to suggest that it causes harm to pets. However, pets may have individual sensitivities or allergic reactions, and ingestion of any plant material can potentially cause mild stomach upset. If you suspect your pet has consumed a large quantity of any plant and is showing adverse symptoms, it is best to consult a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 feet 8 inches (50 cm)

    • Spread

      1 feet 8 inches (50 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ground Cover: Epimedium × perralchicum 'Fröhnleiten', commonly known as Barrenwort, forms a dense mat that can cover the ground and suppress weeds effectively.
    • Drought Tolerance: Barrenwort has good drought tolerance once established, making it useful in dry shade gardens.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The flowers of the plant can attract butterflies and other beneficial pollinators to the garden.
    • Shade Tolerance: It is particularly well-suited for shady areas where other plants may struggle to thrive.
    • Low Maintenance: Barrenwort requires minimal care once established, needing only occasional watering and trimming.
    • Deer and Rabbit Resistant: The plant is not a preferred choice for deer and rabbits, which helps to protect it from grazing in the garden.
    • Spring Flowers: It produces attractive flowers in the spring, adding seasonal interest and color to the garden.
    • Evergreen Foliage: Barrenwort has semi-evergreen to evergreen foliage in milder climates, providing year-round visual interest.
    • Erosion Control: The robust root system can help to stabilize soil and prevent erosion on slopes.
    • Design Versatility: It can be used in a variety of garden designs, including woodland gardens, rock gardens, and as a border plant.

  • 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

    • Barrier Planting: Epimedium 'Fröhnleiten' can be planted as a ground cover under trees and shrubs to create a thick barrier that deters animals from penetrating into garden spaces.
    • Fairy Gardens: Due to its whimsical appearance, it is often used to create a miniature fairy garden landscape, providing an enchanting backdrop for small figurines and decorations.
    • Erosion Control: Its dense rooting system helps stabilize soil on slopes or banked garden areas, preventing soil erosion.
    • Seasonal Interest: Gardeners might use Epimedium 'Fröhnleiten' for its attractive foliage which changes colors with the seasons, adding visual interest to the garden.
    • Landscape Edging: This plant works well as a natural edge for garden paths or flowerbeds due to its clumping habit and low-growing nature.
    • Textural Contrast: In mixed plantings, the unique leaf shape of Epimedium 'Fröhnleiten' provides a textural contrast when paired with plants with large, broad leaves.
    • Photography Backdrop: It may be used as a backdrop for photographing other plants or garden features due to its lush and consistent foliage.
    • Livestock Foraging Deterrent: When used in rural settings, its bitter taste can discourage foraging by deer and other grazing animals.
    • Historical Gardens: Epimedium 'Fröhnleiten' is sometimes used in the restoration or creation of gardens aiming to reflect a specific historical period due to its old-world charm.
    • Winter Garden: Its evergreen leaves can provide greenery in a winter garden when other plants have died back or gone dormant.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Epimedium, commonly known as 'Barrenwort', is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Barrenwort is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Endurance and Vigor: Epimedium, commonly known as "Barrenwort," is a resilient plant capable of thriving in tough conditions, symbolizing the ability to endure and maintain vigor through challenges.
    • Adaptability: Barrenwort's capacity to adapt to various light and soil conditions can represent the versatility and flexibility one needs to adapt to different situations in life.
    • Subtle Beauty: The delicate appearance of Barrenwort's flowers signifies an appreciation for understated elegance and the beauty found in simplicity.
    • Sexual Wellness: Traditionally used in herbal medicine to enhance libido, Barrenwort symbolizes sexual wellness and vitality.
    • Protection: The plant's use in traditional medicine to ward off ailments can also symbolize protection and the safeguarding of one's well-being.
    • New Beginnings: As Barrenwort emerges in spring, it can represent fresh starts, new growth, and the awakening of life after a period of dormancy.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Bishop's Hat should be watered regularly, maintaining a consistently moist soil, especially during dry spells or in the growing season. In general, providing about one inch of water per week should suffice, but this amount could vary depending on your local climate and recent rainfall. Overhead watering or using a drip irrigation system can both be appropriate methods for this plant. It's essential to avoid water logging as well-drained conditions are important for the health of Bishop's Hat. During the winter months, water less frequently, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out slightly between watering.

  • sunLight

    The Bishop's Hat thrives best in partial shade to full shade conditions. It should be planted in a location where it receives dappled sunlight or light shade throughout the day. Avoid exposing it to prolonged periods of direct afternoon sunlight, which can scorch the foliage. A spot under a canopy of deciduous trees or a north-facing garden bed can provide the ideal light conditions for this plant.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The ideal temperature range for Bishop's Hat is between 50°F and 75°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to around 5°F, making it suitable for many temperate climates. The plant is quite frost-hardy and can endure cold winters, but it prefers not to be exposed to extreme heat, where temperatures consistently exceed 80°F.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Bishop's Hat isn't strictly necessary, but it can be done to remove dead or damaged foliage and to maintain a tidy appearance. Prune in early spring before new growth starts by cutting back old leaves to ground level to make room for the fresh leaves. It typically suffices to prune once a year as new leaves can cover old growth, and excessive pruning is not required for this plant's health.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Bishop's Hat prefers well-draining soil rich in organic matter, with a soil pH of 5.5 to 7.5. A mix of garden soil, compost, and perlite or pine bark would create an ideal environment for root growth and health. Regular mulching can help maintain soil moisture and nutrient levels.

  • plantRepotting

    The Bishop's Hat should be repotted every 2 to 3 years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth. Spring is the best time to repot this perennial. Gently tease out the roots if they are circling to encourage outward growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    The Bishop's Hat thrives in moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable to less humid conditions if not subjected to dry winds. Aiming for around 50% relative humidity is favorable for this plant's growth; however, it can tolerate variations with little adverse effect.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Bishop's Hat in bright, indirect light; ensure high humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Bishop's Hat in partial shade, sheltered from harsh sunlight.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life cycle of Epimedium × perralchicum 'Fröhnleiten', also known as barrenwort, begins with seed germination in moist, well-drained soil, preferably in partial to full shade. Once the seeds have sprouted, the seedlings grow into clumping perennials with heart-shaped leaves that emerge with a bronze tint in spring. Over time, the plants develop into a dense ground cover, with mature barrenwort producing small, yellow flowers on wiry stems in early to mid-spring. After flowering, the plant focuses on vegetative growth, spreading through rhizomes to form new clumps nearby. Throughout the summer, the foliage remains attractive, turning to a lush green, and then in the fall, leaves may take on a reddish or bronze hue. During winter dormancy, the foliage of some variants may die back, particularly in colder climates, but the plant will regenerate from its rhizome in the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for the Epimedium × perralderianum 'Fröhnleiten', commonly known as Barrenwort, is by division. This should be done in late summer to early fall, when the plant is not in active growth. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the plant, making sure to keep a large amount of soil around the roots. Gently tease apart the clumps into smaller sections, each with a good root system and several shoots. Replant the divisions immediately, setting them at the same depth they were originally growing, and water them well. Divisions should be spaced about 12 inches (approximately 30 centimeters) apart to allow enough room for the plants to grow and establish.