E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Valeriana edulis Nutt. ex Torr. & A. Gray
Hairy Valerian (edible valerian; Marsh Valerian; tobacco root)
Caprifoliaceae (Valerian family)
(Previously in Valerianaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Curtis Bjork  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #22848)

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Distribution of Valeriana edulis
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Valeriana edulis var. edulis

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a stout taproot and branched stem-base with fibrous roots; stems erect, solitary, simple, usually smooth, 10-120 cm tall.
Basal leaves linear to egg-shaped, long-stalked, 7-40 cm long, 0.7-5 cm wide, simple or sometimes lobed; stem leaves opposite, 2-6 pairs, pinnately cleft with narrow segments, becoming unstalked, terminal lobe linear to narrowly lanceolate.
Inflorescence a compact panicle of either male, female or both female and male flowers; female flowers 1 mm long and male or male/female flowers 2.5-3.5 mm long; corollas white, either about 1 mm long (female) or 2.5-3.5 mm long (male), lobed, the lobes slightly shorter than the tubes; calyces with mostly 9-13 feathery segments; stamens only slightly exserted.
Achenes, egg-shaped, 2.5-4.5 mm long, short-hairy or nearly smooth.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist (sometimes saline) meadows in the montane zone; rare in SC BC; E to ON and S to SD, NM, AZ, NV and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References