edible valerian

(Valeriana edulis var. ciliata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

edible valerian

NatureServe

N3 - Vulnerable

S2 - Imperiled

Minnesota

Threatened

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

Midwest

FACW - Facultative wetland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Rare

Habitat

Wet to moderate moisture. Calcareous fens, wet meadows, upland prairies, lowland prairies, railroads, cliff ledges, rock outcrops. Full sun.

Photo by Crystal Boyd
Flowering

May to mid-June

     
Flower Color

Cream

     
Height

12 to 20

     

Identification

This is an erect, long-lived, perennial forb that rises from a long, stout, yellow, cone-shaped taproot and a short, branched caudex. It is usually 12 to 20 tall, though large individuals can be up to 48 tall.

The stems are erect and hairless or nearly hairless.

Basal leaves are short-stalked, thick, linear to inversely lance-shaped, 4 to 12 long, and 3 16 to 1 wide. They are nearly parallel veined and usually unlobed, but rarely have 1 or 2 basal lobes. Young leaves are more or less hairy. The upper and lower surfaces of mature leaves are hairless. The margins are untoothed and have a dense fringe of hairs.

Stem leaves are few, opposite, stalkless, and shorter than the basal leaves. They are divided into a few ascending, lance-shaped or sickle-shaped lobes (pinnatifid) branching off of a broad, flat central axis.

The inflorescence is a long, dense cluster at the end of the stem. The cluster has many lateral branches which spread widely with age.

Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants, though a plant may have a few bisexual flowers. Male and bisexual flowers are 3 32 to wide. Female flowers are about 1 32 wide. The flowers have 5 cream-colored petals, 3 stamens, and a 3-lobed stigma. The sepals are modified into several to many feather-like segments that are rolled up when the plant is in flower. When the plant is in fruit the segments unroll and spread widely.

The fruit is a hairless, narrow, egg-shaped, 3 16 long achene.

 
Similar
Species

Eastern swamp saxifrage (Micranthes pensylvanica) has basal leaves and a leafless, hairy flowering stalk.

Garden heliotrope (Valeriana officinalis) has basal and stem leaves that are pinnately divided into 11 to 21 toothed leaflets.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 24, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle)

 

Subfamily:

Valerianoideae

 
Synonyms

Valeriana ciliata

Valeriana edulis ssp. ciliata

 
Common
Names

common valerian

edible valerian

hairy valerian

tobacco root

tobacco-root


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

achene

A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.

 

caudex

A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.

 

linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

pinnate

Having the leaflets of a compound leaf arranged on opposite sides of a common stalk.

 

pinnatifid

Deeply cut, more than half way to the midrib but not to the midrib, into lobes that are spaced out along the midrib; the lobes do not form separate leaflets.

 

sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

       

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Crystal Boyd


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Plant

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Inflorescence

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Flowers

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Stem Leaves

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Basal Leaves

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Crystal Boyd
5/31/2013

Location: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Black Dog Preserve Unit

edible valerian


     
     
 

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