Valerian is a well known and used medicinal herb (although caution is advised), particularly for its use as a sedative, but with many other internal and external uses. The strongest action is in the roots, and the plant should not be allowed to flower if the roots are to be harvested for medicinal purposes. However the white-pink flowers are borne in clusters and are very attractive – to bees and butterflies as well as humans. The plant is said to be high in phosphorous and silica and makes a great liquid fertiliser or addition to the compost heap to speed up decomposition. It is also said to encourage earthworms, and is used to make biodynamic preparation 507. Cats and rats may be attracted to the smell of the plant, and it can be used to lure them away from other plants, or the dried root can be used as bait in rat traps. Full sun or part shade, preferably in moist loamy soil. Height to 120cm. 9cm pot. Certified organic plant.
Main photo: Kahikatea Farm
gallery photo: wikimedia.commons.org