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Epimedium pinnatum colchicum (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Epimedium pinnatum colchicum (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Zone
Zones A2, 2-9, 14-17, 31-43
Partial SunNo Sun
Partial, Shade
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Epimedium pinnatum

Berberidaceae
Ground covers, Perennials

EPIMEDIUM

Low growers with creeping underground stems. Thin, wiry leafstalks hold leathery leaves divided into heart-shaped leaflets 3–4 in. long. Foliage is bronzy pink in spring, green in summer, bronze in fall; even in deciduous species, leaves last late into the year. In spring, plants bear loose spikes of small, waxy flowers in pink, red, creamy yellow, or white. The flowers have four petals, which may be spurred or hooded, and eight sepals—four inner ones resembling petals and four (usually small) outer ones.

Use as a groundcover under trees or among rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias; set out plants 1 ft. apart. Good in large rock gardens and containers. Tolerate heavy shade. Foliage and flowers are long lasting in arrangements. Cut back in late winter before new growth resumes.

Epimedium pinnatum

From northern Iran. Grows to 8–12 in. high, with nearly evergreen foliage. Flowers have yellow sepals and very short reddish brown spurs. E. p. colchicum is taller (to 16 in.), wiht larger flowers; its selection ‘Black Sea’ (E. ‘Black Sea’) has foliage that turns inky purple-black in winter.

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