Information on Common Valerian

Common Name: Common Valerian
Scientific Name: Valeriana officinalis
Irish Name: Caorthann corraigh
Family Group: Valerianaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Common Valerian is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This tall graceful perennial is found throughout the country growing beside rivers, canals and in meadows.  It is happy in both damp and dry soil conditions but grows to a greater height (up to 2m) in damp places.  The pale pink flowers (3-4mm long) are borne in dense, rounded clusters on thick, erect stems, blooming from June to September.  Each corolla is tubular with 5 lobes and 3 long stamens.  The lanceolate leaves are pinnate and toothed and the plant is branched in its upper half.  This is a native plant and it belongs to the family Valerianaceae.   

My earliest record of this elegant wildflower is in 1979 in Ballyvaughan, Co Clare and I photographed it in 2009 near Baldwinstown, Co Wexford.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Valerian, Common
Valerian, Common

Used as a medicinal herb for many centuries, the properties of Valeriana officinalis are used in preparations for insomnia.  It is also commonly known as Wild Valerian.