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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 31. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
General/Distribution: A genus of over 200 species. Widely distributed in the temperate regions of Asia, Africa, Europe and N. & S. America. Represented here by 9 or 10 species.
Comment/Acknowledgements: It is often difficult to identify the valerians without the basal leaves (which may shed early), underground and fruiting parts.

Doubtfully Recorded Species

Valeriana petrophila Bunge in Ledeb., Fl. Alt. 1:54.1829; Komarov, l.c 637.1958; Boiss., Fl. Or. 3:89.1875.

A non-rhizomatous plant 7-20 cm tall, with long cylindrical roots. Leaves lyrately pinnatisect with 2-3 pairs of lobes, with larger terminal elliptic-ovate to suborbiculate lobe. Corymbs lax in fruit. Achene glabrous.

Distribution: Siberia, C. Asia, Japan and Afghanistan.

This plant was collected from Mt. Sikaram (Kurram) by Aitchison (Sikaram, 14,000', on shady rocks, Aitchison 759, K), but may occur only on the Afghan side of the border.

Valeriana sisymbriifolia Vahl. Enum. Pl. 2:7.1805; Boiss., l.c 88; Komarov, l.c 17.1958; Rech. f., Fl. Iran. 62:18.1969; Richardson in Davis, Fl. Turk. 4:556.1972.

The occurrence of this species here is doubtful (see Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. 698.1972). I have not seen any authentic specimens from our area; specimens assigned to this species may be the closely related Valeriana ficariifolia Boiss.


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Perennial herbs with aromatic underground parts. Leaves entire or divided. Flowers white or pink in corymbose cymes, panicles or heads; upper bracts opposite. Calyx unrolled in fruit into a plumose pappus. Corolla 5-lobed, often gibbous at the base. Stamens 3. Stigma 2-3-fid or simple. Ovary 3-locular, with only 1 fertile locule. Achene crowned by the persistent pappose calyx, dorsally 3-ribbed, ventrally 1-ribbed, glabrous to hairy.

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1 All radical leaves (or at least of lateral offsets), undivided (2)
+ All or at least some radical leaves divided (6)
2 (1) All radical and cauline leaves similar, ovate suborbiculate or reniform
+ Radical leaves ovate, ovate-oblong, cordate or suborbiculate; cauline leaves (at least the uppermost ones) lyrately pinnatifid or pinnatisect (3)
3 (2) Radical leaves cordate, the uppermost cauline leaves usually 3-fid Valeriana jatamansi
+ Radical leaves ovate to ovate-oblong or orbiculate; cauline leaves pinnati-partite, -fid or –sect (4)
4 (3) Cauline leaves pinnati-partite, 3-7-lobed. Upper bracts much shorter than the achene. Achene pubescent to villous (glabrous in var. hoffmeisteri) Valeriana hardwickii
+ Cauline leaves pinnati-fid or -sect, 1-3-lobed. Upper bracts longer than the achene. Achene glabrous or not (5)
5 (4) Caespitose low growing plants, 3-10.5 (-20) cm tall, suckers many, with numerous persistent leaf bases. Ovary and fruit hispid
+ Solitary plants up to 38 cm tall; rootstock with 1(-2) erect branches form the base. Ovary and fruit glabrous
6 (1) Achene pilose to hirsute. Radical leaves entire or divided (7)
+ Achene glabrous or pilose. Radical leaves divided (sometimes those of lateral offsets entire)
7 (6) Plants non-rhizomatous, glabrous. Entire leaves broadly cordate-reniform. Upper bracts lanceolate. Achene hirsute Valeriana ficariifolia
+ Plants rhizomatous, puberulous to pubescent or subglabrous. Entire leaves ovate-oblong to spathulate. Upper bracts ovate to elliptic-ovate. Achene pilose to pubescent (8)
8 (7) Petiole of radical leaves up to 8.5 cm long. Cauline nodes 1 or 2, the upper leaves ternate; terminal lobes of cauline leaves elliptic-ovate, entire or subentire
+ Petiole of radical leaves up to 5 cm long. Cauline nodes several; the upper leaves 3-7-pinnatisect; terminal lobes of cauline leaves ovate to elliptic- ovate or rhomboid
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