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Epimedium flavum (barrenwort)

Epimedium flavum is a herbaceous perennial with upright stems and bright yellow flowers, produced mainly in spring.
Yellow flowers of Epimedium flavum

Yellow flowers of Epimedium flavum

Species information

Scientific name: 

Epimedium flavum Stearn

Common name: 

barrenwort, tian quan yin yang huo (China)

Conservation status: 

Vulnerable (VU) according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Montane woodland.

Key Uses: 


Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Epimedium

About this species

More species of Epimedium grow in China at elevations between 500 m and 3,700 m in the woodlands of Sichuan Province in than in any other region. One of these, Epimedium flavum was first collected there in 1992 and named in 1995 by the British botanist William Stearn. Two other yellow-flowered species from the same area are similar: E. davidii (with smaller, red inner sepals, usually larger leaves and compact rhizome) and E. fangii (pale reddish inner sepals and creeping rhizomes).

William Stearn named Epimedium flavum and many other species of Epimedium and wrote the monograph, The Genus Epimedium and other Herbaceous Berberidaceae, published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 2002.


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