April to October, although some can flower all through a
It is found throughout the country, but is mainly coastal in
the far North.
For a map see the National Biodiversity Network Gateway
It is a neophyte which was grown as a garden plant from the
1590s onward and has been recognised as a naturalised escape
since the 1760s.
It grows on walls, sea-cliffs, rocks and waste land and
brownfield sites, especially near the coast.
It can cause a great deal of damage to walls. Picture 9 shows
the sawn-off section through the base of a Red Valerian stem.
The stem is about 10cm across and has forced sections of
the stone wall apart.
Red Valerian is a robust, fleshy, perennial herb growing up
The flower heads are quite large rounded pyramids, dark pink
to red and occasionally white.
Individual flowers are 5mm across and have a thin corolla-tube
with a spur.
There is a single stamen, which ripens before the ovary
Pollination is by lepidoptera with long proboscises.
The ovaries develop into ewer-shaped seed pods and seeds are
wind-distributed by a pappus.
The leaves are pointed ovals that are usually grey-green
The upper leaves are unstalked.
Although attractive, it can be a persistent weed and cause a
lot of damage.
The stems arise for years from roots, which you think you have
Red Valerian, Ham Hill, Somerset
On a wall, Lancaster
Young floret showing single stamen
Older florets showing single stamens
Corolla-tube with spur and ovary (below spur)
Seed pods and pappus