edible valerian

(Valeriana edulis var. ciliata)

Conservation Status
edible valerian
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N3 - Vulnerable

S2 - Imperiled

     
  Minnesota

Threatened

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

     
  Midwest

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Edible valerian 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.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

12 to 20

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Cream

 
     
 

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.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

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

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to mid-June

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 24, 28.

 
  6/4/2015      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Rare

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (dicots)  
  Subclass Caryophyllidae  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Dipsacales (honeysuckles, moschatels, and allies)  
 

Family

Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle)  
  Subfamily Valerianoideae  
 

Genus

Valeriana (valerian)  
  Species Valeriana edulis (edible valerian)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

There are two varieties of edible valerian. Only var. ciliata occurs in Minnesota.

 
       
 

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
       
  edible valerian    
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

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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Young Plant

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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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