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

Valeriana sitchensis Bong.
Sitka valerian
Caprifoliaceae (Valerian family)
(Previously in Valerianaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Gordon Neish  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #17988)

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Distribution of Valeriana sitchensis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a stout rhizome or branched stem-base with fibrous roots; stems smooth except short-hairy at the nodes, 30-120 cm tall.
Basal leaves few, pinnately cleft with 1-2 pairs of lateral segments; stem leaves opposite, larger, with 1-4 pairs of lateral segments, enlarged terminal segment up to 10 cm long and 7 cm wide, usually coarsely toothed, leaves becoming short-stalked upwards.
Inflorescence a compact, flat-topped cluster with usually male/female flowers; corollas white or pink, 4.5-7 mm long, lobed, the lobes 1/2 as long as the tube; calyces with 12-18 feathery segments; stamens well exserted.
Achenes, egg-shaped to more oblong, 3-6 mm long, 2-2.5 mm wide, smooth.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist streambanks, meadows, forests and avalanche tracks in all but the lowland zone; common throughout BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to AB and S to MT, ID and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Valeriana sitchensis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 5 1590 2750
Slope Gradient (%) 0 23 300
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 204 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(84), BAFA(75), BWBS(2), CMA(24), CWH(54), ESSF(4176), ICH(217), IDF(3), IMA(33), MH(182), MS(203), PP(1), SBPS(6), SBS(267), SWB(53)

Ecological Indicator Information

Shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to alpine, Western North American forb distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs on fresh to very moist, nitrogen-rich soils within boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates. Common in meadow-like communities and coniferous forests on water-receiving and water­collecting sites. Usually associated with Athyrium filix­femina, Gymnocarpium dryopteris, Lonicera utahensis, Optopanax horridus, and Streptopus roseus. A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Valeriana sitchensis subsp. scouleri (Rydb.) F.G. Mey.
Valeriana sitchensis subsp. sitchensis
Valeriana sitchensis var. hookeri (Shuttlw.) G.N. Jones
Valeriana sitchensis var. scouleri (Rydb.) M.E. Jones

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References