Bishop’s Hat (Epimedium Fargesii)

Plant: Table of Contents

Bishop’s Hat (Epimedium fargesii): A Beautiful and Versatile Plant

Plants play a vital role in our lives, not just as a source of oxygen but also for their aesthetic beauty and their numerous benefits. One such plant that has been gaining attention for its unique characteristics and versatility is the Epimedium fargesii, commonly known as Bishop’s hat. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the botanical information, care tips, uses, and much more about the Epimedium fargesii, also known as Bishop’s hat.

What is Bishop’s Hat (Epimedium fargesii)?

Epimedium fargesii, commonly referred to as Bishop’s hat, is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the Barberry family (Berberidaceae). It is native to China and is known for its delicate and graceful appearance. The plant derives its common name, Bishop’s hat, from the shape of its leaves, which resemble the hats worn by bishops in the Anglican church. The distinct foliage and enchanting flowers make the Bishop’s hat an excellent choice for adding beauty and charm to gardens, landscapes, and natural areas.

Botanical Information

Let’s start by understanding the key botanical information about Epimedium fargesii.


  • Family: Berberidaceae
  • Genus: Epimedium
  • Species: fargesii


  • The plant typically reaches a height of about 12 to 18 inches and spreads to form attractive clumps.
  • It features heart-shaped, glossy green leaves that are often tinged with red or bronze when young.
  • In spring, delicate and intricate flowers bloom in a variety of colors, including shades of pink, purple, and white, adding a touch of elegance to the plant.

To understand the plant more comprehensively and its cultivation, care, uses, and benefits, let’s explore each aspect in detail.

Key Takeaways – Bishop’s Hat (Epimedium fargesii)


Culturally, Epimedium fargesii has garnered significant attention due to its unique characteristics and the ease of growing and maintaining it.

Bishop’s hat thrives in woodland settings, particularly in areas with dappled shade and moist, well-drained soil.

Seasonal Changes
It is known for its ability to adapt to seasonal changes, particularly thriving during spring with its elegant flowering display.


Garden Uses

  • Epimedium fargesii serves as an excellent groundcover, adding a touch of elegance and beauty to landscapes and gardens.
  • Its graceful foliage and delicate flowers make it a wonderful addition to rock gardens, woodland gardens, and naturalized areas.

Medicinal Uses

  • Some species of Epimedium have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for their potential medicinal properties.


Moderate to regular watering is recommended, particularly during dry periods, to maintain adequate moisture levels. It is important to ensure the soil does not become waterlogged, as this can lead to root rot.


Partial to full shade is ideal for Epimedium fargesii. It thrives in dappled sunlight or under the shade of trees, making it an excellent choice for shaded landscapes.


A balanced, organic fertilizer can be applied in spring to support healthy growth and blooming.


Well-drained, humus-rich soil is preferred. It’s essential to avoid waterlogged conditions as Epimedium fargesii is susceptible to root rot in excessively moist soils.


Regular deadheading and light pruning can help maintain the plant’s appearance and encourage continued blooming. Additionally, removing old or damaged foliage can promote new growth.


Epimedium fargesii can be propagated through division in early spring or fall, making it easy to expand and propagate from existing plants.

Container Popularity

It is often grown in containers due to its ornamental value and adaptability to shade, making it an excellent choice for shaded patios, balconies, and indoor spaces.

Common Diseases

Epimedium fargesii is generally resistant to diseases, but it can be susceptible to fungal issues in poorly drained or overly wet conditions, making it essential to maintain proper soil drainage.

Common Pests

While relatively pest-resistant, it may occasionally attract aphids or slugs, particularly in conditions where the plant is stressed due to inadequate growing conditions.

Botanist’s Tips

  • Companion Plants: Epimedium fargesii pairs beautifully with other shade-loving plants such as hostas, ferns, and brunnera, creating visually appealing and well-balanced landscapes.
  • Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch can help retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth, benefiting the overall health of the plant.

Fun Facts

  • The name Epimedium is derived from the Greek word “epi” (upon) and “médíon” (a tree), possibly referring to the plant’s natural habitat.
  • In addition to its ornamental value, select species of Epimedium have been historically used in traditional Chinese medicine for their potential health benefits.

Links to External Resources

To further expand your knowledge of Epimedium fargesii, here are some valuable resources:
1. The Royal Horticultural Society – Epimedium
2. Missouri Botanical Garden – Epimedium
3. North Carolina State Extension – Bishop’s Hat Propagation

Now that we have covered the essential aspects of Epimedium fargesii, including its botanical information, cultivation, and uses, you are well-equipped to appreciate and cultivate this captivating plant in your own garden or landscape. Whether used as a groundcover, a woodland garden feature, or a beautiful container plant, Bishop’s hat is sure to add charm and elegance to any setting.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.