Valeriana officinalis

Recently my post on Red Valerian/Jupiter’s Beard (Centranthus ruber) was perhaps confusing for some, since there is another Valerian:

Valeriana officinalis

On a recent walk near the river I found this pale one already in flower.

Valeriana officinalis is in some ways similar to the red valerian – in its flower shape and general appearance – but it is a different species. This wild one usually grows near water and is often much taller than the red one, has a sweet scent and a thicker stem, and quite different foliage. It has a much more delicate-looking pale flower, which becomes pinker as it ages. Known in Germany as “Baldrian”, Valeriana officinalis is frequently used as a recognized herbal sedative – for sleeping disorders it is reported to work well with no side effects. As mild relief from tension, nervous stomach cramps and headaches, I have known many students take it in the weeks preceding an exam!

And it is so pretty.

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