Epimedium is also known by a variety of common names, including fairy wings and bishop's hat. The reason for these names is understandable when you look at the flower. It is also known as barrenwort because it was believed that the roots of the plants could cause barrenness in women. I also came across other common names that piqued my interest: horny goat weed, rowdy lamb herb, and randy beef grass. I did some research, and it turns out that epimedium has been used in China for low libido and erectile dysfunction!
But I digress . . . back to how I became interested in epimedium. After my clearance rack purchase proved to be so delightful and durable, I decided to purchase a few more. At last year's spring plant sales, I picked up this beautiful yellow one, Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphrite'. Epimedium is often thought of as a groundcover plant because it tends to grow less than 2 feet tall. This one is one of the smaller ones (should stay under 1 ft) and I think its small, delicate appearance is responsible for its charm.
I also purchased this purple one last year, Epimedium grandiflorum, 'Purple Prince'.
Epimedium are great plants for several reasons. They are tough, thriving in the dry shade in my garden. They are available in a variety of sizes, flower color, and foliage color. And their little flowers are spellbinding. I'll definitely be adding to my collection!