Valeriana officinalis

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Taxonomy
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Valerianaceae
Genus: Valeriana
Species: V. officinalis
Scientific Name
Valeriana officinalis
L.
Common Names

common valerian, garden valerian, garden heliotrope

Overview

Appearance
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.
Foliage
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.
Flowers
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.
Fruit
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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