Epimedium – Bishop’s Hat, Barrenwort, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers

Perennial Flower Information

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Epimedium – Bishop’s Hat, Barrenwort

After reading the description
of the Epimedium by Miss M. R. Case in “Horticulture,”
we have decided to abandon all hopes of describing this
dainty flower in our own crude words. She writes:

“Blossoming under a great
Oak, where Maidenhair and Dicksonia ferns grow to perfection,
is a dainty herb from Japan known as the Bishop’s Hat,
from the square, flat shape of its blossoms. “The blossoms
are in loose sprays which branch off from the main stems
l inches below where the main stem divides into the
three sprays which bear the leaves. They come in buff
or soft yellow, mauve and white. The one which has done
the best at Hillcrest, Epimedium macranthum, gives
the bishop a yellow lining to his dark red hat. It is
well arranged for his grace’s comfort, as under the
square, flat hat is a little cap to hold it well in
place. It is so pretty a hat that we hope it is in the
ritual of the floral world for it to be worn in the
ceremonies of their service.

“The loose spray of blossoms
is 6 inches long from where it branches from the main
stem. The whole plant is more than a foot in height;
the single flower about the size of a dime. The pretty
red buds are on the spray with the flowers.

“The leaves are a soft yellow
green, parallel veined and pointed at the apex. The
main stem divides into three sprays for the leaves.
The whole plant has an airy, unusual and very pleasing
effect. The old leaves persist on the stems through
the Winter and have to be gathered with the Spring litter
from the gardens.

“It should not be confused
with the Bishop’s Cap, Mitrewort or Mitella, which more
nearly resembles the Tiarella or Foam Flower. His Grace,
the Bishop, is well adorned in Puritan New England.”

Some of the species are E.
with gray, crimson and yellow flowers;
E. macranthum, with lilac flowers; E. niveum,
with white flowers, and E. Musschianum, with
golden yellow blossoms.

UTILIZE. There is probably
no other flower which lasts so long in water as do the
Bishop’s Hats. If they are picked close to the ground
when the leaves are mature, they will last at least
two months in water. They are good for pot plants and
for the border where they should really be planted in
masses in order that their delicate flowers may be appreciated.
They are excellent plants for the rockery.

GENERAL. They prefer a moist,
sandy loam and partial shade. If planted in the rockery,
they must not get too dry. The soil should not be disturbed
around them at any time, as it injures the roots.

PROPAGATION. They are propagated
by dividing the roots. This can be done in either Fall
or Spring.

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