1. Family: Berberidaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Epimedium Tourn. ex L.
      1. Epimedium perralderianum Coss.

        Epimedium perralderianum was named by the French botanist Ernest Saint-Charles Cosson (1819-1889) in memory of his friend Henri de la Perraudière, who died as a result of a fever on an expedition to Mount Babor (Algeria) in 1861, during which this species was discovered.


    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    Barrenwort is an evergreen, herbaceous perennial with stiff, heart-shaped leaflets and spikes of small, yellow flowers in spring.

    Epimedium perralderianum was named by the French botanist Ernest Saint-Charles Cosson (1819-1889) in memory of his friend Henri de la Perraudière, who died as a result of a fever on an expedition to Mount Babor (Algeria) in 1861, during which this species was discovered.

    E. perralderianum is a perennial plant forming spreading patches of tough, evergreen leaves, each with three heart-shaped, spiny-edged leaflets. The small yellow flowers are produced on leafless spikes in the spring.

    Species Profile

    Geography and distribution

    Native to north-eastern Algeria, where it grows in the oak and cedar forests of Mount Babor, at 1,200–1,500 m above sea level.

    Moist forests of North Africa

    Epimedium perralderianum is one of the interesting species found in the relicts of moist forest in the North African mountains. The closely related E. pinnatum subspecies colchicum grows in the moist forests of the Black Sea coast in north-eastern Turkey.

    Mount Babor (Djebel Babor) in Algeria is one of the wettest places in North Africa (with 2,000–2,500 mm average annual rainfall). It contains the last remnants of forests which covered much of North Africa during the glacial maximum 20,000 years ago. Oaks, holly, yew, aspen and Acer opalus subsp. obtusatumare all found here, along with Atlas cedar ( Cedrus atlantica), which occurs from around 1,200 m above sea level in mixed woodland, and dominates at higher altitudes (above 1,800 m).

    Part of the area is protected as the Djebel Babor Strict Nature Reserve.


    The long-creeping rhizome (underground stem) is tough and wiry. The leaves are up to 20 cm long and are divided into three leaflets, each up to 6.5 cm long (or up to 10 cm in cultivation). The glandular flowering stems are up to 30 cm high and bear 9–25 flowers. The flowers are 1.5–2.3 cm across, and each has four small, greenish outer sepals and four large, yellow inner sepals 5–9 mm across. Each flower has four small (2.5 mm long) petals, with small, brown nectaries with an upward-curving spur 1–2 mm long. The stamens (male parts) are 5 mm long and bear yellow anthers (pollen-bearing structures).

    Threats and conservation

    Epimedium perralderianum was listed as Vulnerable according to IUCN Red List criteria in 1998. It has a very restricted distribution in the wild, and is likely to be adversely affected by any deforestation.


    Epimedium perralderianumis cultivated as an ornamental. It makes a good groundcover plant for moist, partially shaded places (such as in a woodland garden). Its leaves turn red in late summer and autumn.

    Some Chinese species of Epimediumare used medicinally. For example, E. sagittatum is one of four source species of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) called ‘Yin Yang Huo’ (pharmaceutical name: Herba Epimedii). The aerial parts of the plant are used to treat impotence, rheumatoid arthritis, numbness and muscle contractions, and hypertension during menopause, among other conditions.


    Epimedium perralderianum is easily grown in partial shade, preferably in places which do not dry out in summer. It can be propagated easily by division.

    This species at Kew

    Epimedium perralderianum is grown in the Woodland Garden (the area around the Temple of Aeolus) at Kew.

    Dried and alcohol-preserved specimens of Epimedium perralderianumare held in Kew’s Herbarium, where they are available to researchers from around the world, by appointment. The details of one of these specimens can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

    Oak woodland and Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) forest.
    Vulnerable according IUCN Red List criteria (1998).

    None known.



    Common Names


    Epimedium perralderianum Coss. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Identified Reference Herbarium Specimen Type Status

    First published in Bull. Soc. Bot. France 9: 167 (1862)

    Accepted in:

    • [3] Govaerts, R. (2001) World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS E-F: 1-50919


    • [1] Guowei, S. (2005). Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China, Volume 1, English Edition. Chinese Pharmacopoeia Commission, People's Medical Publishing House, Beijing, China.
    • [2] Stearn, W.T. (2002). The Genus Epimedium. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • [4] Walter, K.S. & Gillett, H.J. (eds) (1998). 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. IUCN – The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
    • [5] Davis, P.H. & Hedge, I. (1971). Floristic links between N.W. Africa and S.W. Asia. Ann. Nat. hist. Mus. Wien 75: 43-57.
    • [6] Hooker, J.D. (1880). Epimedium perralderianum Coss. Curtis’s Bot. Mag. 106: t. 6509.


    International Plant Names Index
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    Kew Species Profiles
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    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
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