Herbs & Plants

Epimedium koreanum

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Botanical Name: Epimedium koreanum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Subfamily: Berberidoideae
Genus: Epimedium
Species: Epimedium koreanum
Tribes: Berberideae
Subtribes: Epimediinae

Common Names: Korean Epimedium (This fantastic selection was named after the godfather of American rock gardening, the late Harold Epstein, by plantsman Jerry Flintoff.)

Habitat : Epimedium koreanum is native to E. Asia – Korea. It grows on the wet areas in forests and mountain valleys.

Epimedium koreanum is a perennial plant growing to 0.3 m (1ft). The 5″ long and 4-1/2″ wide green leaves emerge on bright red stems and begin to unfurl just as the huge butter-yellow flowers are finishing. Epimedium ‘Harold Epstein’ makes a large clump that spreads at the rate of 8″ per year once established. This is truly a dazzling sight in flower and a superb deer-resistant groundcover in foliage!


It Spreads 6-8″ a year. It usually takes 2-3 years to establish itself and be­come most impressive. The flowers emerge before the leaflets unfurl in early spring. E. koreanum is notorious for just putting up one set of leaves per node each season. If the leaf suffers damage, the rhizome will remain dormant until the following year.

It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
The plant likely to succeed outdoors in most areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any fertile humus-rich soil, preferring a moist but well-drained peaty loam. 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. 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.
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 in July/August 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.

Medicinal Uses:
The aerial parts of the plant contain several medicaly active constituents including flavonoids and phytosteroids. They are used in Korea in the treatment of spermatrrhoea, impotence and forgetfulness. This plant is related to Epimedium grandiflorum, and contains a similar range of bioactive constituents. The uses of that plant are as follows:- 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.
Other Uses:
‘Harold’ is a great bold-textured vigorous ground cover for large areas where it can spread unimpeded. It is especially useful in combination with early spring bulbs for sequential bloom. After bloom the expanding leaves serve as camouflage for the dying bulb foliage

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Epimedium koreanum Harold Epstein

Epimedium koreanum ‘Harold Epstein’

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