Epimedium 2010

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

I'm a sucker for Epimedium seedlings, they're so cute.  The initial leaf is not necessarily indicative of what the plant will look like, even spiny narrow-leaf types will have a roughly heart shaped first leaf.  The photo shows a flat of E. sempervirens 'Mars' seedlings, about 20 of them or so, but just a few in this view.  On the left, we're seeing a seedling with second or third leaflets, also showing some fall color, but I'm intrigued by the lobes on the upper-most leaflet.  This is the fun part, imagining what the hybrid plants will look like, will they be anything new and special.  Some seedlings flower the second year from seed, but it requires a minimum of 3 years to know what the plant character will be like.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Some recent nights well below freezing mark the end of "Epimedium fall color fantasy" for many eppie varieties, but not all, some of the more evergreen sorts go into what I call the "slow burn", with rich foliar color lasting well into winter.

1.    E. grandiflorum 'Nanum' has the most unusual autumn foliage scheme, an inner center of yellow but outer leaves a deep dark chocolate brown color.

2-3. E. lishihchenii, an evergreen species, is a candidate for "best fall color on an evergreen species"; a rich burnished red color on shiny evergreen leaves, with deep red veining.  Looks great all winter and into spring, this is probably the most dependable winter-evergreen species for New England.

4.    E. x 'Domino' - you'll see a hit of color on a few leaves, but basically one of many Chinese species and hybrids involving Chinese species that tend to be winter evergreen, thus still having a strong presence  in the late autumn and early winter garden.

5.    E. diphyllum 'Variegatum' - a great all around plant, colorful red/honey/coffee spring color foliage, foliage stippled with white in later spring and summer, and a slow burn of mahogany leather red in autumn.

6.    E. x versicolor 'Versicolor' - tries to be fully evergreen but best regarded as semi-evergreen, rich red coloring starts early in fall and lasts well into winter.  A beauty.

7.    E. x youngianum 'Otome'- one of the very best youngianum types for all seasons, beloved for the very rounded deeply netted leaves that have an evergreen substance to them year round; I'm convinced that this "youngianum" has sempervirens blood in it, accounting for the shiny nearly evergreen leaves.  Beautiful leather leaf colors.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I have no Epimediums with such colors. All (that's 4-5) mine are still green despite cold and sunny weather the last days.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

After viewing some photo galleries showing Epimedium sutchuenense (of possibly questionable identity) I thought I'd post a couple photos taken this spring.  My plant came from Darrell Probst, who writes about this species in the Garden Vision Epimediums nursery catalog "Finally the REAL E. sutchuenense, from the mountains of Shaanxi and northwest Hubei Provinces", and "superficially resembling E. leptorrhizum, with large, lavender mauve flowers and long, thin 8-12" rhizomes", "two leaves on every flower stem, each with three medium-sized leaflets".

Taking a cue from Darrell's description of the long annual rhizomes, this is not a plant for close company but more suitable to a large woodland area where it can spread, I have planted it in a wilder portion of my woodland accordingly.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

McDonough wrote:

After viewing some photo galleries showing Epimedium sutchuenense (of possibly questionable identity) I thought I'd post a couple photos taken this spring.  My plant came from Darrell Probst, who writes about this species in the Garden Vision Epimediums nursery catalog "Finally the REAL E. sutchuenense, from the mountains of Shaanxi and northwest Hubei Provinces", and "superficially resembling E. leptorrhizum, with large, lavender mauve flowers and long, thin 8-12" rhizomes", "two leaves on every flower stem, each with three medium-sized leaflets".

Taking a cue from Darrell's description of the long annual rhizomes, this is not a plant for close company but more suitable to a large woodland area where it can spread, I have planted it in a wilder portion of my woodland accordingly.

This is a plant for me! But I am afraid of slugs. Twice have I tried E. leptorrhizum and both times it ended its spring life as a slug delicacy.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Woodard
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-11-29

Mark, your collection is excellent. Though I grow many of the same plants from the same source, the extent of coloration in the autumn foliage is not as pronounced here.

Joseph Woodard, just west of Nashville, TN. USDA zone 6b, but more like 7 or so in recent years.

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Joseph wrote:

Mark, your collection is excellent. Though I grow many of the same plants from the same source, the extent of coloration in the autumn foliage is not as pronounced here.

The fall color thing is, I think, rather dependent on microclimates and conditions. I have some varieties that I divided and planted in several spots around the yard, but in some spots the fall color is much more pronounced than in other spots.  Also, the "forgiving" autumn seasons that we've been having in recent years, the right balance between cold nights, even some freezing, and warmer daytime temps, can greatly impact the color.  This year, after an terrible drought, the worst I have seen in decades, the fall color on Epimediums has been outstanding.  It is purely coincidental with this message that today, the last day of November, after lots of freezing nights to the low 20s F, I went around and took lots of photos; many Epimediums I have cut back the foliage, but for many others the color is still excellent and prominent.  What follows may be an overdose of such photos showing Epimedium color.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

On this last day of November 30th, 2010, there are still many Epimedium varieties showing color.  This year I have cut many of the more overtly deciduous species back, easing the spring cleanup, but I leave the many semi-evergreen and full evergreen types, as their presence is so colorful and prominent.  The following 3-part series is not only an exhibition of the fall colors on these fine plants, but also serves as a photographic record of what these plants look like in their fall garb.  So often Epimedium photos are just mere closeups of a few flowers, I believe it is far more important to impart an impression of the whole plant as it may inhabit one's garden.

1.  E. sempervirens 'Vega' - one of the very best sempervirens types with glossy foliage and clumping habit, this photo shows recently divided plants showing strong red coloration to the foliage.  This one will play a role in my hybridization efforts.

2.  A view of various sempervirens hybrids, the one in the foreground having blackish fall foliage.

3.  E. sempervirens 'Secret Arrow', perhaps the best and longest last fall color of sempervirens types.

4.  E. sempervirens "Variegated No.1" - I posted on the amazing hot red, pink and white spring color of this eppie; the fall foliage is more somber, a dark brownish purple color.

5.  E. sempervirens 'White Purity' on the left (strong red oliage color) and 'Asiatic Hybrid' above and on the right, taking on more muted purplish-red foliage tones.

6.  Three E. sempervirens forms, a violet-flowered form with red fall color on the left, 'Aurora' in the center staying green, and what Garden Vision a "typical form" of E. sempervirens", with red fall color, in the lower right.

7-8 A patch of E. pauciflorum on a steep woodland slope.

9.  My selected hybrid seedling of E. x youngianum 'Liliputian' crossed with an evergreen species (likely E. pubigerum or E. sempervirens 'Candy Hearts').  This is the smallest Epimedium of all, so I have a careful watch on this little gem, only recently at this late point in the season is it showing some dark foliage.

10. E. diphyllum 'Variegatum', with lustrous leathery coppery red foliage, with a pinkish-flowered form of evergreen E. pubigerum behind it.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Mine are still green but frozen hard as crystal. I don't dare touch them. I am afraid they will shatter!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Part 2,

11    E. membranaceum x brevicornu No.2 - fine golden fall color, good clumping habit akin to E. brevicornu

12    E. membranaceum x brevicornu No.3 - wider more open growth than No.2 similar to membranaceum

13-15 E. membranaceum hybrid seedlings, various 2-year hybrid seedlings   

16    E. brachyrrhizum - beautiful dense mounds of shiny, rugose dark evergreen leaves, sometimes colored. There's hardly a better clumping species than this one, and totally drought-resistant too.

17    E. stellulatum - makes a wide, low clump of spine-edged evergreen leaves.  The late fall and winter foliage continues to deepen in russet color, highlighting strong venation. Superb drought-resistant species.

18    E. fargesii - 2-year hybrid seedling - the parent plant grows near some choice eppie species and cultivars, this is the part of gardening that I love, the prolonged anticipation of a plant's first flowering.

19    E. grandiflorum 'Orion' - very late to color, but worth the wait, a beautiful orange color.

20    E. x 'Black Sea' - reported as a hybrid between E. pinnatum ssp. colchicum and pubigerum, this is one the finest eppies ever.  The foliage is always excellent, but thee fall & winter color almost doesn't look real, like shiny leather in coffee-red tones that will deepen over time to near black.  Drought-resistant plant.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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