Valeriana arizonica

Arizona Valerian - Valeriana arizonica
 Below Hillsboro Peak Black Range, NM
May 25, 2015

Arizona Valerian, Valeriana arizonica (synonyms - Valeriana acutiloba var ovata and Valeriana ovata) is one of the earliest (April) flowers to bloom in the Black Range, especially at altitude.  It is also called Arizona Tobaccoroot.   It was first described by Asa Gray while Per Axel Rydberg described V. acutiloba & V. ovata.  Rydberg (1860-1931) is a renowned American botanist with numerous publications and scientific endeavors to his credit.  

This species is found in most of Arizona and New Mexico and small portions of Colorado, Texas, and Utah in the United States and in several states in northern Mexico, generally at elevations between 4,500’ and 8,000’.  The specimen shown in these photographs was found at close to 10,000’.  The dot map of specimens is from New Mexico Biodiversity.

“Several Valerian species have sedative properties in their roots.  Roots have been used medicinally to treat against restlessness, sleeplessness, minor nervous conditions, and symptoms of menopause, anxiety related to premenstrual syndrome, gastrointestinal pain and spastic colitis.” (Van Wky, B., & Wink, M; Medicinal Plants of the World; Timber Press; Portland, Oregon; 2004)

The specimen shown below is an isotype (a duplicate specimen of the original used in describing the species) maintained by the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Trail 79 McKnight Cabin to McKnight Mountain
May 30, 2015

valerian isotype

© Robert Barnes 2018-2023