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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 19 | Valerianaceae

3. Valeriana Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 31. 1753.

缬草属 xie cao shu

Herbs, perennial. Plants hermaphroditic, gynodioecious, polygamo-dioecious, or dioecious, glabrous or variously pubescent, villous or hirsute, hairs 1- to several celled, white or translucent. Rhizomes elongate, with fibrous roots, or rhizomes reduced, with fascicled, often clavate, roots. Taproots absent (Chinese spp.). Stolons present or absent. Basal leaves rosulate, petiolate or spatulate, undivided, pinnate or pinnatifid, persistent or caducous. Cauline leaves opposite, petiolate to sessile; petiole length typically diminishing upward along stem; blade pinnate, pinnatifid, pinnatisect, or undivided. Inflorescence paniculiform or corymbiform, at anthesis: flowers in remote terminal clusters or in a densely capitate head, branches elongating in fruit; lowermost bracts often lobed, bracts otherwise simple and entire; bracteoles simple, similar to bracts; flowers bisexual, male (not in China?) or female. Calyx a ring at anthesis, unfurling into 5-15 white, plumose segments, 4-8 mm, in mature fruit. Corolla funnelform, rotate or salverform; tube usually gibbous near base; limb 5-lobed. Stamens 3 (4 in Valeriana kawakamii), inserted on corolla tube. Achene compressed dorsally, 3-veined on abaxial side, 1-veined on adaxial side, sterile locules reduced; crowned by persistent, plumose calyx, segments 2-7 mm.

About 300 species: Asia, Europe, North and South America; 21 species (13 endemic) in China.

A difficulty in the key is the rhizomes as unfortunately many collections do not have the rhizomes attached.

1 Leaves undivided, or at least lower 2 or 3 pairs of cauline leaves undivided   (2)
+ Leaves all divided, or rarely lowest 1 or 2 pairs of cauline leaves undivided   (9)
2 (1) Rhizomes relatively stout, 0.5-1.5 cm in diam.; leaves cordate at base, 2-14 × 3-10 cm.   13 V. jatamansi
+ Rhizomes relatively slender, less than 0.5 cm in diam.; leaves not cordate at base   (3)
3 (2) Leaves all undivided   (4)
+ Upper cauline leaves divided   (6)
4 (3) Leaves entire or sparsely crenulate; plants less than 12 cm tall; achenes hairy.   21 V. trichostoma
+ Leaves serrate; plants more than 12 cm tall; achenes glabrous   (5)
5 (4) Inflorescences laxly paniculiform at anthesis, flowers clustered at branch tips; stem glabrous.   15 V. lancifolia
+ Inflorescences compact and capitate at anthesis; stem hirsute.   11 V. hiemalis
6 (3) Undivided leaves entire   (7)
+ Undivided leaves serrate   (8)
7 (6) Plants 10-35 cm tall; leaf segments sparsely serrate.   5 V. fedtschenkoi
+ Plants 5-15 cm tall; leaf segments entire.   20 V. tangutica
8 (6) Corolla less than 3 mm; upper cauline leaves usually pinnatisect, segments 5-7.   16 V. minutiflora
+ Corolla 3.5-4 mm; upper cauline leaves 3-segmented, rarely 5-segmented, lateral segments much smaller than terminal segment.   2 V. barbulata
9 (1) Rhizomes 2-8 cm, with marked internodes; roots fibrous, not fascicled; inflorescences lax, with several separate corymbs even at anthesis.   7 V. flaccidissima
+ Rhizomes reduced, without marked internodes; roots fascicled; inflorescences compact or lax at anthesis   (10)
10 (9) Leaf segments entire, rarely incised; plants 5-20(-50) cm tall; leaves all pinnatisect or at least middle and upper cauline leaves pinnatisect, with 4-11 pairs of segments; inflorescences compact at least at anthesis   (11)
+ Leaf segments always serrate (except V. stenoptera); plants more than (20-)30 cm tall; leaves pinnatisect or not, with 1-11 pairs of segments; inflorescences lax or compact   (14)
11 (10) Plants 5-20(-30) cm tall; leaf segments rounded or obtuse; terminal segment ± larger than lateral ones   (12)
+ Plants 10-50 cm tall; leaf segments acute to acuminate at apex; terminal segments similar to or larger than lateral ones   (13)
12 (11) Achenes hirsute on both sides; petiole of lowermost cauline leaves 3-6 cm.   12 V. hirticalyx
+ Achenes glabrous; petiole of lowermost cauline leaves 0.5-2 cm.   8 V. flagellifera
13 (11) Corolla 1.5-3 mm; stems sparsely retrorsely puberulent; all leaf segments similar in shape and size, sparsely puberulent.   19 V. stenoptera
+ Corolla ca. 6 mm; stems glabrous; terminal leaf segment larger than lateral ones, glabrous or sometimes ciliate.   6 V. ficariifolia
14 (10) Inflorescences lax, with several separate heads even at anthesis   (15)
+ Inflorescences compact and capitate, at least at anthesis   (18)
15 (14) Leaves lyrate, terminal segment markedly larger, over 2 times wider than lateral ones; corolla rose or red, 3-4 mm.   10 V. hengduanensis
+ Leaves pinnatisect, terminal segments slightly wider than lateral ones; corolla white, 1.5-3.5 mm, or rose, 4-4.5 mm   (16)
16 (15) Corolla rose, 4-4.5 mm; inflorescence corymbiform; achenes ca. 4 mm.   18 V. sichuanica
+ Corolla white, 1.5-3.5 mm; inflorescence paniculiform; achenes 2-2.5(-3) mm   (17)
17 (16) Plants over 50 cm tall; leaf segments large, terminal ones over 3 cm.   9 V. hardwickii
+ Plants usually less than 20 cm, rarely up to 30 cm tall; leaf segments smaller, terminal ones less than 2 cm.   3 V. briquetiana
18 (14) Leaves usually lyrate, with 1-4 pairs of segments; terminal segment markedly larger than lateral segments   (19)
+ Leaves pinnatisect, with 4-11 pairs of segments; terminal segment equal to or slightly larger than lateral segments   (21)
19 (18) Corolla narrowly tubular, tube 4-6 × as long as lobes; achenes 1.5-2 mm.   4 V. daphniflora
+ Corolla funnelform, tube nearly as long as lobes; achenes 2.5-3 mm   (20)
20 (19) Roots fibrous, less than 1 mm in diam.; lateral leaf segments 1- or 2-paired; corolla lobes elliptic.   2 V. barbulata
+ Roots ± carrot-shaped, 1.5-2 mm in diam.; lateral leaf segments 1-4-paired; corolla lobes ovate.   16 V. minutiflora
21 (18) Leaf segments usually entire, rarely incised, acute to acuminate at apex.   19 V. stenoptera
+ Leaf segments always serrate, obtuse or acute at apex   (22)
22 (21) Plants 10-20 cm tall; corolla white, tubular, ca. 2.7 mm.   14 V. kawakamii
+ Plants over 50 cm tall; corolla rose or white, funnelform, 3-6 cm   (23)
23 (22) Plants glandular-hairy at upper part of stems and inflorescence rachises; inflorescence capitate.   1 V. amurensis
+ Plants without glandular hairs; inflorescence corymbiform.   17 V. officinalis

  • List of lower taxa


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