Valeriana Linn., Sp. Pl. 31. 1753. Gen. Pl. ed. 5:19.1754; Boiss., Fl. Or. 3:85.1875; C.B. Clarke in Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 3:211.1881; Komarov in Bobrov & Shiskin, Fl. URSS. 23:594.1958; Rech. f., Fl. Iran. 62:17.1969; Richardson in Davis, Fl. Turk. 4:551.1972.
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.
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.
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.