common valerian
Valeriana officinalis L.


Valeriana officinalis is an herbaceous perennial that grows 1.5-4 ft. (0.5-1.5 m) tall. The plant grows from a small rhizome and has fibrous roots. Stems are usually pubescent, especially at the nodes.
The basal and stem leaves are similar and are opposite. They are pinnately divided into 11-21 lanceolate segments that have dentate margins (some are entire). As the leaves go up the stems, the petioles get shorter. The leaves often have a few hairs on the underside.
Valeriana officinalis has fragrant, white or pale pink flowers that are arranged in umbels. Each flower measures 0.2 in. (4 mm) long. Flowers bloom from June to August.
The fruit are small and lanceolate-oblong in shape, measuring 0.1-0.2 in.(3-5 mm) long. Seeds are wind dispersed.
Ecological Threat
Valeriana officinalis is still cultivated today for its medicinal use. This plant can grow in a variety of different habitats ranging from grasslands to wooded areas. It can tolerate a wide variety of conditions from to dry to wet soils. It is often abundant near the coast. It has been introduced on multiple occasions, frequently giving it the opportunity to escape into the natural landscape, where it displaces native plant species.


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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Valerianaceae
Genus: Valeriana
Subject: Valeriana officinalis L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
garden valerian, garden heliotrope


Plants - Forbs/Herbs