Cambridge Bishop's Hat

Epimedium x cantabrigiense
Berberidaceae
This widely cultivated plant was named by Professor William Stearn in honour of the city of his birth.
Stearn grew and studied many taxa of Epimedium in the garden of St John’s College, Cambridge, since at the time the Garden here lacked the necessary plots for his extensive field trials. In 1950, Stearn discovered a distinct clump identified as a hybrid between E. alpinum and E. pubigerum, which was named Epimedium x cantabrigiense.

This low-growing plant features mitre-shaped evergreen leaves (hence the common name of Bishop's Hat), through which wiry flower stems emerge in late spring, each dancing with small coppery pink flowers with yellow centres.

Here in the Garden, we make the most of its tolerance to dry and lightly-shaded conditions, and use it to great effect as underplanting to the Magnolia soulangeana ‘Brozzonii’ at Brookside Gate, in the Woodland Garden, and in beds close to Cory Lodge.