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Common Name: Barrenwort
Epimedium grandiflorum is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.35 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
E. Asia - Japan, Manchuria.
Moist deciduous woodlands in the hills[
]. Calcareous rocks in moist woodland[
]. (This entry refers to sub-species E. grandiflorum higoense. Shimau.)
Succeeds in any fertile humus-rich soil[
], preferring a moist but well-drained peaty loam[
]. Requires a lime-free soil[
]. Grows best in the light dappled shade of a woodland[
]. Plants can succeed in the dry shade of trees[
]. A shallow-rooting plant, the rhizomes creeping just below the soil and the finer roots occupying the top 30cm of the soil[
]. A clump-forming species, the rhizomes making only short new growth each year, it needs to be divided every 3 - 4 years in order to maintain vigour[
Plants are hardy to about -20°c[
], though the flowers in spring can be damaged by late frosts[
A very ornamental plant[
], there are several named varieties[
]. It grows well in the rock garden or wild garden[
Plants are self-sterile and so more than one clone is required for cross-fertilization in order for seed to be produced. Plants will often hybridise with other species growing nearby[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[
Young plant and young leaves - cooked[
]. Soaked and then boiled[
]. (This suggests that the leaves are bitter and need to be soaked in order to remove the bitterness.)
The aerial parts of the plant are antiasthmatic, antibacterial, antirheumatic, antitussive, aphrodisiac, hypoglycaemic, tonic and vasodilator. Its use lowers blood sugar levels[
]. It is used in the treatment of impotence, seminal emissions, lumbago, arthritis, numbness and weakness of the limbs, hypertension and chronic bronchitis[
]. It has an action on the genitals similar to the male sex hormone and can increase the weight of the prostate gland and seminal vesicle, it has increased copulation in animals and increases the secretion of semens[
The leaves are used as an aphrodisiac[
]. Administered orally, the leaf extract increases the frequency of copulation in animals[
A good ground cover plant[
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in late summer[
]. Sow stored seed as early as possible in the year in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter[
]. Plant them out in mid to late summer[
Division, best carried out in August to September according to one report[
], in late spring according to another[
]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Cuttings in late summer[