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Sandy Claws Barrenwort

Epimedium wushanense 'Sandy Claws'

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Sandy Claws Barrenwort (Epimedium wushanense 'Sandy Claws') at Dickman Farms

Sandy Claws Barrenwort flowers

Sandy Claws Barrenwort flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Sandy Claws Barrenwort (Epimedium wushanense 'Sandy Claws') at Dickman Farms

Sandy Claws Barrenwort in bloom

Sandy Claws Barrenwort in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  12 inches

Flower Height:  16 inches

Spacing:  18 inches

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  5

Other Names:  Fairy Wings, Bishop's Hat, Elf Orchid

Brand:  Walters Gardens


A unique variety featuring long, lance-shaped leaves with spiny margins that emerge burgundy, mellowing to dark green by summer; cream colored flowers in spring contrast well with the foliage; a great garden shade plant; combine with hostas and ferns

Ornamental Features

Sandy Claws Barrenwort features delicate spikes of creamy white orchid-like flowers rising above the foliage from mid to late spring. Its attractive spiny narrow leaves emerge burgundy in spring, turning forest green in color the rest of the year.

Landscape Attributes

Sandy Claws Barrenwort is a dense herbaceous evergreen perennial with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting bees to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading
  • Spiny

Sandy Claws Barrenwort is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Sandy Claws Barrenwort will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity extending to 16 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 24 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 18 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years. As an evegreen perennial, this plant will typically keep its form and foliage year-round.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Sandy Claws Barrenwort is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Edging  Garden  Groundcover  Naturalizing  Container 
Flowers  Foliage Color  Texture  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features