Valeriana uliginosa  David Werier

Valeriana uliginosa
David Werier

Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
Valerianaceae (Valerian Family)
State Protection
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Global Conservation Status Rank


Did you know?

All of our existing populations were known from historical records from the early 20th century and one as far back as 1870.

State Ranking Justification

There are four existing populations which are all in good to excellent condition. A fifth recent population was extirpated by Phragmites. There are 21 historical records which should be surveyed more extensively although some of them have been extirpated by changes in hydrology.

Short-term Trends

The four existing populations seem stable with a large number of plants in protected areas.

Long-term Trends

This plant was never documented to be very common in the state but there were over 20 historical records and many of them have become extirpated by changes in wetland hydrology and vegetation or by development.

Conservation and Management


Succession of open wetlands to a closed swamp canopy is a threat. A significant change in hydrology could also threaten the plants. One population has probably been extirpated by Phragmites.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

Prevent disruptions of the wetland hydrology by beaver or other human disturbances. Prevent displacement of populations by invasive species such as phragmites, purple loosestrife or the common valerian.

Research Needs

Research is needed to determine if the invasive common valerian can outcompete marsh valerian and may have displaced it in some of its historical wetlands, or whether it threatens its current locations.



Marsh Valerian has been found in a variety of wetland types in New York State (though usually not in marshes). Most of these sites share certain characteristics: alkaline or calcareous groundwater, an open aspect (or small openings within forests), and peaty, saturated soils (New York Natural Heritage Program 2007). Calcareous swamps and wet woods, chiefly with Larix and Thuja (Fernald 1970). Bogs, swamps, and meadows (Gleason 1952). Marshy meadows, swamps and bogs (Gleason & Cronquist 1991).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Marl fen (guide)
  • Northern white cedar swamp (guide)
  • Red maple-tamarack peat swamp (guide)
  • Rich graminoid fen (guide)
  • Rich shrub fen (guide)

Associated Species

  • Acer rubrum
  • Betula pumila (bog birch)
  • Bromus ciliatus (fringed brome)
  • Calopogon tuberosus
  • Carex lasiocarpa
  • Carex leptalea (bristle-stalked sedge)
  • Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
  • Dasiphora fruticosa (shrubby-cinquefoil)
  • Eleocharis rostellata (walking spike-rush)
  • Juncus balticus
  • Maianthemum stellatum (starry Solomon's-seal)
  • Myrica pensylvanica
  • Pycnanthemum virginianum (Virginia mountain-mint)
  • Rhododendron groenlandicum (Labrador-tea)
  • Ribes hirtellum (northern gooseberry)
  • Schoenoplectus acutus
  • Sphagnum
  • Thelypteris palustris
  • Toxicodendron vernix (poison-sumac)


New York State Distribution

There are historical records for Marsh Valerian scattered throughout the state, from Dutchess County north.

Global Distribution

Marsh Valerian is found in eastern mainland Canada (Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick) and in scattered locations in the upper midwestern and northeastern United States. It occurs in the New England states (excluding Connecticut and Rhode Island), New York and New Jersey in the east, is considered extirpated in Ohio, and is found in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Best Places to See

  • Bonaparte Swamp (Lewis County)

Identification Comments

General Description

Marsh Valerian is a perennial wildflower reaching up to 1 m tall. It has a basal rosette of mostly simple, roughly egg-shaped, petiolate leaves. From this base arises an erect stem with 3-6 pairs of opposite, pinnate leaves 6-16 cm long. The flowers form a fairly dense, ball-shaped infloresence. Each individual flower is white to pinkish or purplish, with 5 petals, each 5-7 mm long, united at the base to form a tube.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

Marsh Valerian is most easily identified when in flower, though it may be possible to identify from fruiting or vegetative stems, or even from a basal rosette.

Similar Species

The only other species of Valeriana in New York is V. officialis, a European species which is commonly found in wet meadows in the summer. It is taller than our native Valerian and has stems which are pubescent at the nodes. Its basal leaves are not simple but pinnately divided into numerous segments.

Best Time to See

Marsh valerian flowers in mid-May to early July, the fruits persisting into September.

  • Flowering
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Marsh Valerian flowering and fruiting in New York.

Marsh Valerian Images


Marsh Valerian
Valeriana uliginosa (Torr. & Gray) Rydb.

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
        • Order Dipsacales
          • Family Valerianaceae (Valerian Family)

Additional Common Names

  • Mountain Valerian
  • Swamp Valerian


  • Valeriana sitchensis ssp. uliginosa (Torr. & Gray) F. G. Mey.

Additional Resources

Best Identification Reference

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Other References

Crow, Garrett E. 1982. New England's Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Plants. Prepared for the United States Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region. June 1982.

Crow, Garrett E. and C. Barre Hellquist. 2000. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America: A revised and enlarged edition of Norman C. Fassett's a Manual of Aquatic Plants. Volume One: Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Angiosperms: Dicotyledons. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, Wisconsin. 536 Pages.

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

Haines, Arthur and Thomas F. Vining. 1998. Flora of Maine. A Manual for Identification of Native and Naturalized Vascular Plants of Maine.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Mitchell, Richard S. and Charles J. Sheviak. 1981. Rare Plants of New York State. Bull No. 445. New York State Museum. Univ. of New York. State Ed. Department Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Newcomb, Lawrence. 1977. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: An Ingenious New Key System for Quick, Positive Field Identification of the Wildflowers, Flowering Shrubs, and Vines of Northeastern and North-Central North America. Little, Brown and Company. Boston.

Voss, Edward G. 1996. Michigan Flora Part III. Dicots Concluded (Pyrolaceae - Compositae). Cranbrook Institute of Science Bulletin 61 and University of Michigan Herbarium. 622 pp.

Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, New York

Weldy, Troy W. and David Werier. 2005. New York Flora Atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research. University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, NY. Available on the web at (


About This Guide

Information for this guide was last updated on: December 30, 2008

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Valeriana uliginosa. Available from: Accessed March 20, 2019.

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