Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Valeriana edulis
tobacco-root, edible valerian

Distribution: Occurring in the eastern region of Washington; Southern British Columbia south into Washington, Idaho, and Montana, east to Ontario and Ohio.

Habitat: A wide variety of open, somewhat moist habitats, from the foothills to rather high elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Perennial from a long taproot and short, branching crown, 1-12 dm. tall, glabrous.


Basal leaves numerous, firm, linear to obovate, the blade tapering gradually to the petiole, entire, 7-40 cm. long and 7-55 mm. wide, or often a few with narrow, lateral lobes; cauline leaves opposite, 2-6 pairs, smaller, mostly pinnatifid with narrow segments, becoming sessile upward.


Inflorescence a rather compact panicle; plants mostly dioecious, a few flowers perfect; corollas of perfect and staminate flowers 2.5-3.5 mm. long, those of pistillate flowers about 1 mm. long; corolla united, creamy white, the lobes 5, slightly shorter than the tube; stamens 3, slightly exerted; plumose calyx segments 5-13; ovary inferior, with two of the three cells vestigial.


Fruit an achene, ovate, 2.5-4.5 mm. long, glabrous or short-hairy.

Accepted Name:
Valeriana edulis Nutt. ex Torr. & A. Gray

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
var. edulis – tobacco root
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Valeriana edulis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Valeriana edulis checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Valeriana edulis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Valeriana edulis photos.

USDA Plants: Valeriana edulis information.

19 photographs:
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