Plant DetailShow Menu

Valeriana officinalis

Phonetic Spelling
vah-ler-ee-AH-nah oh-fiss-ih-NAH-liss
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Valerian officinalis is easily grown in average garden soils in full to part sun. Its preference is full sun, with consistently moist conditions, and soil consisting of fertile loam but can adapt to less ideal circumstances. It can be grown in part shade, however, the stems may flop.  The more shade, the more this condition will increase.  

It is a non-native herb that has escaped cultivation and has spread primarily in the northern US as it prefers cooler weather and abundant rainfall. It spreads by rhizomes and seeds and can be weedy. It is listed as a noxious weed in Connecticut and Wisconsin.

It is grown medicinally for the sedative effects of the drug valerian that is obtained from the roots. Other uses are in foods, perfumes and teas.  An oil obtained from the leaves and root is used as a flavoring in ice cream, condiments and baked goods.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems.  Can become weedy and invasive.  Its presence in the wild may displace native plants.

When used as a medicinal, prolonged use can lead to addiction.  Adverse effects can include headaches, nausea, agitation, heart palpitations, and insomnia.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Rock and Crevice Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#invasive#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#weedy#fragrant leaves#cut flowers#herb garden#herbaceous#fragrant stems#herbaceous perennial#fragrant roots#naturalizes#borders#cutting garden#edible seeds#edible garden#naturalized area#butterfly friendly#bee friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#invasive#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#weedy#fragrant leaves#cut flowers#herb garden#herbaceous#fragrant stems#herbaceous perennial#fragrant roots#naturalizes#borders#cutting garden#edible seeds#edible garden#naturalized area#butterfly friendly#bee friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Valeriana
    Species:
    officinalis
    Family:
    Caprifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Asia
    Distribution:
    Northern USA and Canada
    Wildlife Value:
    Deer resistant. Attracts bees and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Fragrance
    Edibility:
    Roots for flavoring and as a tranquilizing herbal medicine
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herb
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Winged seeds are spread by the wind
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Panicle
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Fragrant, white or pale pink flowers that are arranged in umbels 2-5 inches across. Each flower measures 0.2 in. and blooms June through August.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Pinnatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Forms a clump of basal foliage from which a stem arises with pairs of leaves occurring primarily in the lower 1/2 of the stem. These leaves are odd-pinate with 4-9 pairs of leaflets and a terminal one. Leaves are up to 8 inches long with 4-9 pairs of deep lobes and a terminal lobe. The leaflets are linear with a smooth upper green surface and paler undersurface that is either smooth or slightly hairy. The leaves become aromatic when bruised.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The tall, slender, sparsely-leaved stems are generally pubescent, especially at the nodes and hollow.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Weedy