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Template:Italic title Template:Taxobox

Bergenia Template:IPAc-en<ref>Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607</ref> (elephant-eared saxifrage, elephant's ears) is a genus of ten species of flowering plants in the family Saxifragaceae, native to central Asia, from Afghanistan to China and the Himalayan region.



They are clump-forming, rhizomatous, evergreen perennials with a spirally arranged rosette of leaves 6–35 cm long and 4–15 cm broad, and pink flowers produced in a cyme.<ref name=rhsaz>Template:Cite book</ref> The leaves are large, leathery, ovate or cordate, and often have wavy or saw-toothed edges. For most of the year, the leaves have a glossy green colour, but in cooler climates, they turn red or bronze in the fall. The flowers grow on a stem similar in colour to a rhubarb stalk and most varieties have cone-shaped flowers in varying shades of pink. These can range from almost white to ruby red and purple.<ref name=tgh>Template:Cite web</ref>

The common names for Bergenia are pigsqueak (due to the sound produced when two leaves are rubbed together), elephant's ears (due to the shape of the leaves) and large rockfoil.

Bergenia is closely related to Mukdenia, Oresitrophe Astilboides and Rodgersia.

The creator of the taxonomic genus name, Conrad Moench, honoured the German botanist and physician Karl August von Bergen by coining the name Bergenia in 1794.


Fruit of Bergenia cordifolia.
  • Bergenia ciliata, including the cultivar Bergenia ciliata 'Superba'
  • Bergenia crassifolia is the most widely grown garden plant, especially the cultivar Bergenia cordifolia 'Purpurea.' The species epithet cordifolia means cordate (heart-shaped) leaf. The leaves are winter hardy and change color in the range of rust brown to brown-red. Other cultivars are Bergenia cordifolia 'Winterglut' and Bergenia cordifolia 'Senior.'

Bergenia crassifolia is about 12 inches tall. The leaves are spoon-shaped. One cultivar is Bergenia crassifolia 'Autumn Red.'


Bergenia are hardy plants that can grow in climates with extreme temperature ranges from about Template:Convert to Template:Convert. They prefer sun but will grow in shady areas as well. Plants can grow to about Template:Convert tall and Template:Convert wide. They do well in most soils, but moist, humus-rich soil is preferable. Exposure and dry soils tend to stunt growth, but can enhance the winter leaf colours. In areas with cold, strong winter winds, protection from the wind may be required.<ref name=tgh/> They are propagated by division or rooted rhizome sections.<ref name=rhsaz/>

Bergenia crassifolia, Bergenia cordifolia, and various hybrids are often grown in gardens, with several cultivars selected.

Available in the garden trade are (those marked Template:Smallcaps have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit):-

  • 'Abendglocken'
  • 'Abendglut'
  • 'Admiral'
  • 'Bach'
  • 'Baby Doll'
  • 'Ballawley'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
  • 'Beethoven'
  • 'Biedermeier'
  • 'Blickfang'
  • 'Brahms'
  • 'Bressingham Beauty'
  • 'Bressingham Bountiful'
  • 'Bressingham Ruby'
  • 'Bressingham Salmon'
  • 'Bressingham White' Template:Smallcaps<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>          
  • 'Britten'
  • 'David'
  • 'Doppelgänger'
  • 'Eric Smith'
  • 'Eroica'
  • 'Glockenturm'
  • 'Goldfisch'
  • 'Herbstblüte'
  • 'Illusion'
  • 'Margery Fish'
  • 'Morgenröte' Template:Smallcaps<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
  • 'Oeschberg'
  • 'Ouverture'
  • 'Perfect'
  • 'Pink Dragonfly'
  • 'Pinneberg'
  • 'Profusion'
  • B. purpurascens Template:Smallcaps<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>          
  • 'Purpurea'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
  • 'Purpurglocken'
  • 'Purpurkönigin'
  • 'Red Star'
  • 'Rosa Zeiten'
  • 'Rosette'
  • 'Rosi Klose'
  • 'Rotblum'
  • 'Rote Schwester'
  • 'Schneeglocke'
  • 'Schneekönigin'
  • B. × schmidtii<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
  • 'Silberlicht' Template:Smallcaps<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
  • 'Summer Mountain'          
  • 'Sunningdale'
  • 'Walter Kienli'
  • 'Wintergold'
  • 'Wintermärchen'
  • 'Winterzauber'
  • 'Yellow Medley'
Bergenia 'Bressingham White'
Close up of Bergenia cordifolia Purpurea flowering spike, usually seen in Spring

Pests and diseases

Bergenia are robust plants and generally free of problems, although vine weevil adults readily eat the edges of the leaves, resulting in an indented, 'notched' outline which can detract from the appearance of the plant.


Bergenin, C-glycoside of 4-O-methyl gallic acid, and its O-demethylated derivative norbergenin, are chemical compounds and drugs of Ayurveda, commonly known as Paashaanbhed. They can be isolated from Bergenia ciliata and Bergenia ligulata<ref>Simultaneous quantification of bergenin, catechin, and gallic acid from Bergenia ciliata and Bergenia ligulata by using thin-layer chromatography. Dhalwal K., Shinde V.M., Biradar Y.S. and Mahadik K.R., 2008, Template:INIST</ref> and from rhizomes of Bergenia stracheyi. It shows a potent immunomodulatory effect.<ref>Immunomodulatory effect of bergenin and norbergenin against adjuvant-induced arthritis—A flow cytometric study Nighat Nazira, Surrinder Koulb, Mushtaq A. Qurishia, Sachin C. Tanejab, Sheikh F. Ahmadc, Sarang Banic and Ghulam N. Qazi, 2006</ref>



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  • This page was last modified on 23 February 2016, at 11:46.
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