The WALA Plant Library

Synonyms for Valerian: All-heal, amantilla, baldrian, caponís tail, catís love, catís valerian, fragrant valerian, garden heliotrope, great wild valerian, setewale, setwall, St. Georgeís herb, valerian, vandal root
Scientific Name: Valeriana officinalis L.
Family: Valerianaceae


Many people will be familiar with valerian as a calming medicinal herb. In its natural environment this perennial prefers moist sites, where in April it forms basal rosettes of strong pinnate leaves. In May tall plants, reaching up to 1.5 metres, grow from the centre of these rosettes, with variously pinnate leaves on grooved hollow stalks which from June to August bear inflorescences known as cymes: these are made up of many florets enthroned on stems and arranged in dense, level clusters. The nuances of colour are remarkable: while the buds appear pale pink, the open flowers may be white or retain a pink tinge. The rootstock consists of a main rhizome the thickness of a thumb, from which countless long, thin roots branch off. When dug up the root looks like a long beard or head of hair.