Information on Red Valerian

Common Name: Red Valerian
Scientific Name: Centranthus ruber
Irish Name: Slán iomaire
Family Group: Valerianaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


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


Even though this wildflower is commonly known as Red Valerian, the flowers are not always red, they can also be pink and sometimes creamy white.  A perennial plant, frequently found growing on railway embankments, old stone walls and coastal pathways, this plant can reach 75cm in height.  It holds its fragrant flowers (8-10mm long) in dense panicles.  Each corolla is a slender tube with lobed unequal petals and has a spur at its base.  The leaves are grey-green, untoothed, ovate and in opposite pairs.  Flowering from June to September, this is an unmistakeable plant which made its way to Ireland from the Mediterranean.  It belongs to the family Valerianaceae.

My first record of this plant is in 1977 at Killiney, Co Dublin where it grows on the dry stone walls along the Vico Road.   

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

Valerian, Red
Valerian, Red

This plant is a larval foodplant for many insects and attracts butterflies such as the Painted Lady into gardens.  Although there are herbal preparations which are widely sold to counteract insomnia, these contain extracts from Common Valerian or Valeriana officinalis and not from Centranthus ruber.