Valeriana pauciflora

A late spring  white to pinkish wildflower growing along streams

Valeriana pauciflora largeflower valerian

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA

This native perennial wildflower blooms in open woods and meadows in late spring and early summer. The flowers of this species are borne on clusters at the top of erect stems and look a bit like bursting fireworks. Each flower is long and tubular and about ¾ inch long. The flower corolla has five spreading lobes near the end. The color can vary from white to pink. It may not be an absolute rule, but those in sunnier areas seem to be pinker in color, while those in the shade tend to be white.

Protruding from the corolla are three stamens and a single style. There is a green calyx at the base of each flower. The nectar is deep inside the flower tube and it is likely that hummingbirds, butterflies, bumblebees and sphinx moths (with long tongues) are the major pollinators. It can produce viable seeds without fertilization. The seeds are eventually distributed by the wind.

The plant grows 1.5 - 3 feet tall in moist shady areas along streams and rivers, in shaded ravines and at the bottom of canyons. It is most often found in high quality, unpolluted soil with a lot of organic matter. It was classified in the Valerian family, but seems now to have been moved to the Honeysuckle family. It is one of the few members of this group to be herbaceous, rather than a vine or shrub. The stout stems, however, seldom or never branch. The basal and stem leaves are variable, but both are opposite and compound with terminal leaflets larger than the rest.

This species has a fibrous root system but occasionally will form rhizomes that allow it to form colonies. It is sometimes called the pink-flowered valerian or the few-flowered valerian.

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Rare in moist wooded stream banks and floodplain forests.

Mostly present in the southwest and southeast of the state.

Range: Found mostly in the Ohio and Potomac Valleys of northeastern United States. Western Pennsylvania is at the eastern end of its range.

Wetland codes

Flowers May through June.

S-rank:  No rank
G-rank:  G4 (Apparently secure)

Valeriana pauciflora largeflower valerian

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA
Valeriana pauciflora gallery
Plant Life-Form
perennial forb
Common Names
largeflower valerian