Barrenwort and bishop’s head (also called bishop’s mitre) (Epimedium) are among the best forest perennials in Mustila’s Alppiruusulaakso (Rhododendron Valley), and have also started to find their way into other shady gardens. They are so similar that previously they were included in the same genus. Nowadays barrenwort is classified under the generic name of Vancouver after the naval officer George Vancouver who, in the 1770s, mapped the west coast of North America, where the species grows naturally in Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forests.
Barrenwort is a low, spreading, leafy, ground-covering plant. The sparse white flowers rise above the fresh green slender foliage. The flowers are rather special in structure, as reflected in the alternative common name of “inside out flower”.