Epimedium alpinum L.

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English Bishop’s hat Status LU: established. 1st record: <1825.
Lëtzebuergesch Alpe-Sockeblumm Status EU: established.
Français Fleur des elfes des Alpes RA: ISEIA: C1. Harmonia+: 0,03
Deutsch Alpen-Sockenblume Wikipedia: Wikipedia - Deutsch - Alpen-Sockenblume Wikipedia - Nederlands - Elfenbloempje | Wikispecies: Wikispecies - Epimedium alpinum | CABI
Nederlands Elfenbloempje Back to the list of neophytes

Report the species

Report Epimedium alpinum to the National Museum of Natural History.

Brief description

Epimedium alpinum is a rhizomatous perennial plant which spreads more rapidly than most other Epimedium species. The plant is native to southern Europe and is now present throughout the continent. Once established, it tolerates drought and heavy shade.

Status and distribution in Luxembourg

Records of Epimedium alpinum L. in Luxembourg. Data source: Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2021-01-23.

Lejeune (1824: 226) reports Tinant found the species in the Grünewald, we thus date the first record to <1825. Tinant (1836: 94) notes “This beautiful barberry grows in the coppice of the Grünewald, near the Roman Road. It is very rare.” 1. Löhr (1844: 11) notes “At overgrown shady places only in Lxb. in the Grunewald, near the Roman road (Tin.) probably only run wild.” 2 The first detailed documented observation of the species dates from 1826. It was found on 19th July 1826 near the river Sûre in the municipality of Bettendorf (Bronn & Courtois 1827). Fischer (1872: 14) found it escaping from the gardens in the bushes at Limpertsberg and in the fortifications of Luxembourg. 3 Krombach (1875: 38) notes the species is “rarely grown in our gardens, found by Tinant in Grunenwald, but has not been observed since.” 4 Nowadays, Epimedium alpinum is considered as very rare (RR) in the Luxembourgian part of the western Lorraine (Lambinon & Verloove 2012: 91).

In July 1910, Joseph Robert (1880-1918) found it again near Bettendorf, in the “Fohrberg” below the quarries; he could count about 30 well developed specimens, so he considered the species native, but very rare (Robert 1910 cit. in Reichling 1958: 95).

The four observations found in the Recorder-Lux database (1956, 1957, 1970) are from the Fouerbierg/Nidderbierg area north of Bettendorf (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2019). The earliest one was a specimen collected by Jean-Jacques Kariger on 3 June 1956 north of Bettendorf, at the place known as Fohrberg, on the western end of the Niederberg, in a forest on shell limestone (Specimen № 24945, MNHNL 2000-).

The current status of the species is unknown, it may be extinct.

Epimedium alpinum is often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens. This explains its current existence in a more or less naturalised state in appropriate sites in various European countries outside its area. The location near Bettendorf has been maintained in this way for at least 130 years! (Reichling 1958: 95).

Risk assessment

ISEIA protocol

C1 (1+1+1+1) (Ries et al. 2013: 18).

Harmonia+ protocol

Overall risk score 0,03 = (Overall Invasion score 0,12 x Overall Impact score 0,10) (Ries et al. 2020).


Worldwide distribution


  • Bronn, M. & R. Courtois, 1827. Verslag van een plant- en landbouwkundig Reisje, gedaan in Julij 1826, langs de oevers de Maas, van Luik naar Dinant, in de Ardennes en het Groothertogdom Luxemburg. Bijdragen tot de natuurkundige Wetenschappen 2: 450–479. [google books]
  • CABI, 2019. Epimedium alpinum. In: Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. URL: www.cabi.org/isc [accessed 2020-02-28]
  • Fischer, E., 1872. Les plantes subspontanées et naturalisées de la flore du grand-duché de Luxembourg. Publications de l’Institut royal grand-ducal de Luxembourg, section des sciences naturelles et mathématiques XII: 1-115. Imprimerie V. Buck, Luxembourg.
  • Krombach, J.-H.-G., 1875. Flore du grand-duché de Luxembourg. Plantes phanérogames. 564 p. Luxembourg, Imprimerie Joris.
  • Lambinon J. & F. Verloove, 2012. Nouvelle flore de la Belgique, du grand-duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines. Sixième édition. Avec la collaboration de L. Delvosalle, B. Toussaint, D. Geerinck, I. Hoste, F. Van Rossum, B. Cornier, R. Schumacker, A. Vanderpoorten et H. Vannerom. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise. CXXXIX + 1195 pp. ISBN : 9789072619884.
  • Lejeune, A. L. S., 1824. Revue de la flore des environs de Spa. 264 p. Liège: imprimerie Duvivier.
  • Löhr, M. J., 1844. Taschenbuch der Flora von Trier und Luxemburg : mit Berücksichtigung der Nahe- und Glan-Gegenden. 319 S. Trier, Verlag C. Troschel.
  • MNHNL, 2000-. Epimedium alpinum L. in Recorder-Lux, database on the natural heritage of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Musée national d’histoire naturelle, Luxembourg. URL: https://mdata.mnhn.lu [Accessed 2019-09-04]
  • MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2019. Epimedium alpinum L. in MNHNL-mdata, online portal combining species observation from Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist and GBIF. National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg. URL: https://mdata.mnhn.lu [Accessed 2019-09-06]
  • Reichling, L., 1958. Notes floristiques – Observations faites dans le grand-duché de Luxembourg en 1956. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 61: 63-123. [PDF 3355 KB]
  • Ries, C., Y. Krippel & M. Pfeiffenschneider, 2020. Risk assessment after the Harmonia+ protocol of invasive alien vascular plant species in Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 122: 197-205. [PDF 132 KB]
  • Ries, C., Y. Krippel, M. Pfeiffenschneider & S. Schneider, 2013. Environmental impact assessment and black, watch and alert list classification after the ISEIA Protocol of non-native vascular plant species in Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 114: 15-21. [PDF 652 KB]
  • Robert J., 1910. Beiträge zur Flora des Grossherzogtums Luxemburg. lnst. G.-D. Lux., Sect. Sc. natur., phvs., math., Arch. trimestr. n.s. V: 1-35. Luxembourg: Imprimerie de la Cour Victor-Buck.
  • Tinant, F. A., 1836. Flore luxembourgeoise, ou, Description des plantes phanérogames, recueillies et observées dans le grand-duché de Luxembourg, classées d’après le système sexuel de Linnée. 512 p. Luxembourg, J. P. Kuborn.

 Page content last updated on 2021-01-14. Last proofread by Caroline Grounds on 2019-11-18.