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Pyrenean Valerian

Valeriana pyrenaica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Valerianaceae (Valerian)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
120 centimetres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, parks, woodland.

Pink, 5 petals
Dense, round clusters of many small, 5 round-petaled flowers. White stamens and anthers.
The fruit is an egg-shaped seed with a plume.
A clump-forming perennial flower with a basal rosette of foxglove-like, heart-shaped leaves. The long-stalked stem leaves are in opposite pairs up the erect stems. The leaves are concavely toothed. The upper stem leaves each normally have a pair of smaller, opposite, lateral leaflets. Similar to Common Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) but the leaves are heart-shaped.
The flowers are scented.
Other Names:
Capon's Tail Grass.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Valeriana pyrenaica is a perennial herb that is native to the Pyrenees Mountains in Europe. It is a member of the Valerianaceae family, which includes other well-known plants such as Valeriana officinalis (common valerian) and Centranthus ruber (red valerian). It is not commonly used for medicinal or other practical purposes, and there is little scientific research on its potential benefits. It is usually grown as an ornamental plant and is appreciated for its attractive foliage and showy pink or white flowers. It is often found in gardens, parks and other cultivated areas.


Pyrenean Valerian (Valeriana pyrenaica) is a beautiful and unique species of flowering plant that is native to the Pyrenees mountain range in Europe. This plant is known for its delicate white or pink flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer, making it a popular addition to many garden landscapes.

One of the key features of Pyrenean Valerian is its delicate aroma, which is often described as sweet and floral. The scent of the flowers is not only pleasing to the senses, but also attracts a variety of pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and moths, making it an important plant for the ecosystem.

In addition to its beauty and fragrance, Pyrenean Valerian is also prized for its medicinal properties. The plant has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, and digestive problems. The active ingredients in the plant are believed to be compounds known as valepotriates, which have a calming effect on the body and help to promote relaxation.

Despite its popularity, Pyrenean Valerian is considered to be an endangered species in some parts of its native range. This is due to a combination of factors, including habitat loss, overgrazing by livestock, and the impact of invasive species. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this valuable plant and ensure its continued survival in the wild.

If you're interested in growing Pyrenean Valerian in your garden, it is important to note that the plant does require specific conditions to thrive. It prefers well-drained soils and partial to full shade, and should be protected from strong winds and intense sun. With proper care, however, this plant can be a beautiful and valuable addition to your garden.

Pyrenean Valerian is a beautiful and unique species of flowering plant that is valued for its delicate aroma, medicinal properties, and importance to the ecosystem. Whether you're looking to add a touch of beauty to your garden or want to take advantage of its medicinal benefits, Pyrenean Valerian is a plant worth considering.

Aside from its ornamental and medicinal properties, Pyrenean Valerian is also of great interest to botanists and ecologists. The plant is known to be a good indicator of the health of its ecosystem, and its presence or absence can provide important information about the state of the environment. For example, a decline in the population of Pyrenean Valerian can indicate changes in the water table or soil conditions, which can in turn have a ripple effect on other species in the area.

In addition, Pyrenean Valerian is an important food source for several species of herbivores, including deer and rabbits. These animals help to spread the plant's seeds and maintain its populations in the wild.

It is also worth noting that Pyrenean Valerian is not the only species of valerian found in the Pyrenees. Other species, such as Valeriana edulis and Valeriana fauriei, also occur in the region and have their own unique characteristics and ecological roles.

If you are interested in supporting the conservation of Pyrenean Valerian and other species in the Pyrenees, you can get involved in local conservation efforts, such as volunteering with local conservation organizations or participating in surveys to monitor populations. You can also support sustainable tourism practices in the region and avoid activities that may harm the environment, such as hiking off designated trails or picking flowers.

Pyrenean Valerian is a fascinating and important species that deserves our attention and protection. Whether you are a gardener, botanist, ecologist, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, taking an interest in this plant and its habitat can help to ensure its future in the Pyrenees and beyond.

In traditional folk medicine, Pyrenean Valerian has been used for a wide range of purposes, including treating anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and digestive problems. In some regions, the plant was even used as a remedy for snake bites and other venomous bites. Despite its long history of use, however, it is important to note that the safety and efficacy of Pyrenean Valerian as a medicinal herb has not been scientifically established.

Today, Pyrenean Valerian is still widely used in the production of herbal remedies and dietary supplements. The plant is often used as an ingredient in sleep aids, stress relief formulas, and digestive aids. It is also used in aromatherapy and massage products, where its calming aroma is said to help promote relaxation and reduce stress.

It is important to always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies, including Pyrenean Valerian. Some herbs can interact with prescription medications or cause adverse side effects, so it is important to be cautious and well informed.

In addition to its use in herbal medicine, Pyrenean Valerian has also been used for a variety of other purposes. For example, the plant's roots have been used to make a yellow dye, and the dried plant material has been used as a insecticide and repellent. In some cultures, Pyrenean Valerian has even been used in love spells and rituals, due to its believed properties as a powerful aphrodisiac.

While the traditional uses of Pyrenean Valerian may be intriguing, it is important to approach these uses with caution and to consult with experts when making decisions about using the plant for any purpose.

In conclusion, Pyrenean Valerian is a plant with a long and diverse history of use, both in traditional folk medicine and in modern times. While it may have potential benefits as a medicinal herb, it is important to approach its use with caution and to seek the advice of a healthcare professional before using it as a remedy. Regardless of its uses, Pyrenean Valerian remains a fascinating and beautiful plant that is well worth exploring and appreciating.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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