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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Ordo: Ranunculales

Familia: Berberidaceae
Subfamilia: Podophylloideae
Genus: Epimedium
Species: E. acuminatum – E. alpinum – E. borealiguizhouense – E. brevicornu – E. campanulatum – E. cantabrigiense – E. circinnatocucullatum – E. davidii – E. diphyllum – E. dolichostemon – E. ecalcaratum – E. elachyphyllum – E. elatum – E. elongatum – E. enshiense – E. epsteinii – E. fangii – E. fargesii – E. flavum – E. franchetii – E. glandulosopilosum – E. grandiflorum – E. hunanense – E. ilicifolium – E. jinchengshanense – E. jingzhouense – E. latisepalum – E. leptorrhizum – E. lishihchenii – E. lobophyllum – E. macrosepalum – E. membranaceum – E. mikinorii – E. muhuangense – E. multiflorum – E. myrianthum – E. ogisui – E. omeiense – E. pauciflorum – E. perralderianum – E. pinnatum – E. platypetalum – E. pseudowushanense – E. pubescens – E. pubigerum – E. pudingense – E. qingchengshanense – E. reticulatum – E. sagittatum – E. sasakii – E. sempervirens – E. setosum – E. shennongjiaensis – E. shuichengense – E. simplicifolium – E. stearnii – E. stellulatum – E. sutchuenense – E. tianmenshanensis – E. trifoliatobinatum – E. truncatum – E. wushanense – E. xichangense – E. yinjiangense – E. youngianum – E. zhaotongense – E. zhushanense
Source(s) of checklist:

Hassler, M. 2019. Epimedium. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Apr. 22. Reference page.


Epimedium L.

Type species: Epimedium alpinum L.


Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 117. Reference page.


Hassler, M. 2019. Epimedium. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Apr. 22. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Epimedium. Published online. Accessed: Apr. 22 2019.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Epimedium in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Apr. 22. Reference page.
Tropicos.org 2019. Epimedium. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Apr. 22.

Vernacular names
English: Barrenwort, Bishops Hat (UK), Rowdy Lamb Herb (US)
suomi: Varjohiipat
հայերեն: Ամլխոտ
日本語: イカリソウ属
Türkçe: Keşişkülahı
中文: 淫羊藿属

Epimedium, also known as barrenwort, bishop's hat, fairy wings, horny goat weed, or yin yang huo (Chinese: 淫羊藿), is a genus of flowering plants in the family Berberidaceae. The majority of the species are endemic to China, with smaller numbers elsewhere in Asia, and a few in the Mediterranean region.[2]

Epimedium species are deciduous or evergreen hardy perennials. The majority have four-parted "spider-like" flowers in spring.

The species used as a dietary supplement is Epimedium grandiflorum. It contains icariin, which is a weak PDE5 inhibitor in vitro. Its clinical effects are unknown.

Epimedium alpinum flower; note the spurs almost as long as the sepals
Labelled flowers of E. × perralchicum 'Fröhnleiten'

Species of Epimedium are herbaceous perennials, growing from an underground rhizome. Their growth habits are somewhat variable. Some have solitary stems, others have a "tufted" habit, with multiple stems growing close together. There may be several leaves to a stem or the leaves may be solitary, produced from the base of the plant. Individual leaves are generally compound, often with three leaflets, but also with more. Leaflets usually have spiny margins. The leaves may be annual, making the plant deciduous, or longer lasting, so that the plant is evergreen. The inflorescence is an open raceme or panicle, the number of flowers varying by species.[2]

Individual flowers have parts in fours. There are four smaller outer sepals, usually greenish and shed when the flower opens. Moving inwards, these are followed by four larger petal-like inner sepals, often brightly coloured. Inside the sepals are four true petals. These may be small and flat, but often have a complex shape including a nectar-producing "spur" that may be longer than the sepals. There are four stamens.[2]

One of the common names for the genus, bishop's hat, arises from the shape of the flowers, particularly where the spurs are longer than the sepals.[citation needed]

The genus was given its name by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, in describing the European species E. alpinum.[1][3] The name is a latinized version of a Greek name for an unidentifiable plant, epimedion, that is mentioned in Pliny's Natural History (xxvii.57). The meaning of the original name is unclear.[4]

accepted species (65)[5]

Epimedium acuminatum
Epimedium alpinum
Epimedium baiealiguizhouense
Epimedium baojingensis
Epimedium borealiguizhouense
Epimedium brachyrrhizum
Epimedium brevicornum
Epimedium campanulatum
Epimedium chlorandrum
Epimedium circinatocucullatum
Epimedium coactum
Epimedium davidii
Epimedium dewuense
Epimedium diphyllum
Epimedium dolichostemon
Epimedium ecalcaratum
Epimedium elatum
Epimedium elongatum
Epimedium enshiense
Epimedium epsteinii
Epimedium fangii
Epimedium fargesii
Epimedium flavum
Epimedium franchetii
Epimedium glandulosopilosum
Epimedium grandiflorum
Epimedium hunanense
Epimedium ilicifolium
Epimedium jingzhouense
Epimedium koreanum
Epimedium latisepalum
Epimedium leptorrhizum
Epimedium lishihchenii
Epimedium lobophyllum
Epimedium macrosepalum
Epimedium membranaceum
Epimedium mikinorii
Epimedium multiflorum
Epimedium myrianthum
Epimedium ogisui
Epimedium parvifolium
Epimedium pauciflorum
Epimedium perralderianum
Epimedium pinnatum
Epimedium platypetalum
Epimedium pseudowushanense
Epimedium pubescens
Epimedium pubigerum
Epimedium pudingense
Epimedium qingchengshanense
Epimedium reticulatum
Epimedium rhizomatosum
Epimedium sagittatum
Epimedium sempervirens
Epimedium setosum
Epimedium shennongjiaensis
Epimedium shuichengense
Epimedium stellulatum
Epimedium sutchuenense
Epimedium trifoliolatobinatum
Epimedium truncatum
Epimedium wushanense
Epimedium zhushanense

Epimedium × versicolor

Some artificial hybrids are cultivated in gardens. These include:[6]

E. × cantabrigiense Stearn, hybrid between E. alpinum and E. pubigerum
E. × perralchicum Stearn, hybrid between E. perralderianum and E. pinnatum subsp. colchicum
E. × rubrum Morr., hybrid between E. alpinum and E. grandiflorum
E. × versicolor Morr., hybrid between E. grandiflorum and E. pinnatum subsp. colchicum
E. × warleyense Stearn, hybrid between E. alpinum and E. pinnatum subsp. colchicum
E. × youngianum Fisch & C.A.Mey, hybrid between E. diphyllum and E. grandiflorum


Some varieties and hybrids have been in western cultivation for the last 100 to 150 years. There is now a wide array of new Chinese species being cultivated in the west, many of which have only recently been discovered, and some of which have yet to be named. There are also many older Japanese hybrids and forms, extending the boundaries of the genus in cultivation. The majority of the Chinese species have not been fully tested for hardiness nor indeed for any other aspect of their culture. The initial assumption that the plants would only thrive where their native conditions could be closely replicated have proven to be overly cautious, as most varieties are proving extraordinarily amenable to general garden and container cultivation.

The cultivar 'Amber Queen' is a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[7]

While they can be successfully propagated in early spring, epimediums are best divided in late summer, with the aim of promoting rapid re-growth of roots and shoots before the onset of winter. Several breeders (in particular Darrell Diano Probst, Tim Branney & Robin White) have also undertaken their own hybridization programmes with the genus. Various new nursery selections are gradually appearing in the horticulture trade, the best of which are extending the colour and shape range of the flowers available to the gardener.

Epimedium wushanense contains a number of flavonoids. 37 compounds were characterized from the underground and aerial parts of the plant. Among them, 28 compounds were prenylflavonoids. The predominant flavonoid, epimedin C, ranged from 1.4 to 5.1% in aerial parts and 1.0 to 2.8% in underground parts.[8]

"IPNI Plant Name Query Results for Epimedium". The International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
Ying, Junsheng; Boufford, David E. & Brach, Anthony R. (1994). "Epimedium". In Wu, Zhengyi; Raven, Peter H. & Hong, Deyuan (eds.). Flora of China (online). eFloras.org. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 117 in Latin
Johnson, A.T.; Smith, H.A. & Stockdale, A.P. (2019), Plant Names Simplified : Their Pronunciation Derivation & Meaning, Sheffield, Yorkshire: 5M Publishing, ISBN 9781910455067, p. 55
The Plant List 2013.
Beckett, K., ed. (1993). "Epimedium". Encyclopaedia of Alpines : Volume 1 (A–K). Pershore, UK: AGS Publications. ISBN 978-0-900048-61-6. pp. 437–441.
"Epimedium 'Amber Queen'". www.rhs.org. Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 7 June 2020.

Li HF, Guan XY, Ye M, Xiang C, Lin CH, Sun C, Guo DA.,"Qualitative and quantitative analyses of Epimedium wushanense by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with diode array detection and electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry." J Sep Sci. 2011 May 10;


Stearn, William Thomas (November 1938). "Epimedium and Vancouveria (Berberidaceae), a monograph". Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Botany. 51 (340): 409–535. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1937.tb01914.x.
Stearn, William T. (2002) [1938]. Green, Peter Shaw; Mathew, Brian (eds.). The genus Epimedium and other herbaceous Berberidaceae. (including the genus podophyllum by Julian Shaw, illustrations by Christabel King) (Revised ed.). Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens. ISBN 9781842460399.
Avent, Tony (March 2010). "An overview of Epimedium". The Plantsman: 10–17.
"Epimedium". The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2016.

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