Valeriana sitchensis - Bong.
Marsh Valerian
Other English Common Names: Sitka Valerian
Other Common Names: Sitka valerian
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Valeriana sitchensis Bong. (TSN 35368)
French Common Names: valériane de Sitka
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.160056
Element Code: PDVAL030E0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Valerian Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Dipsacales Valerianaceae Valeriana
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Valeriana sitchensis
Taxonomic Comments: Valeriana sitchensis, as treated here (following Kartesz 1994 and 1999), excludes Valeriana scouleri and V. uliginosa, each sometimes considered varieties or subspecies of a more broadly viewed V. sitchensis. LEM 23Jan01.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 16May2016
Global Status Last Changed: 29Nov2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Valeriana sitchensis occurs in Alaska and thoughout western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest south into northwestern California. It is widespread and often abundant at middle to high elevations in the Northwest Pacific Coastal Region. This species, which favors subalpine meadows and forests may be threatened by over-grazing, soil compaction, and land conversion. The roots of Valeriana sitchesis are harvested from the wild for medicinal use and this species is the most popular wild-collected plant in the genus Valeriana. However the market for this species is relatively limited and the cultivated stock of Valeriana officialis is preferred in the herbal market. Reports that Valeriana sitchensis is a viable substitute for V. officialis suggest that wild populations and demand should be monitored over time. The G5 rank corresponds to the S5 rank in British Columbia.
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (01Feb2013)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (SNR), California (SNR), Idaho (SNR), Illinois (SNR), Maine (SNR), Montana (S5), Oregon (SNR), Washington (SNR), Wisconsin (SNR)
Canada Alberta (S4), British Columbia (S5), Northwest Territories (SNR), Yukon Territory (S4)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: The range of Valeriana sitchensis in Canada includes Yukon, Mackenzie, British Columbia and Alberta. In the U.S. it occurs in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, northwestern California, Idaho and Montana.

Population Size Comments: Widespread and often abundant at middle to high altitudes throughout the Northwest Pacific Coastal Region (Pojar and MacKinnon 1994).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Grazing by caribou may pose a threat to this species. Soil compaction caused by walking or collecting plants in patches growing on wet soils can be detrimental. Valeriana sitchensis is the most popular wild-collected species of the genus and its roots are typically harvested (Vance et al. in press). However, its use and the incidence of wild-collecting is likely "limited and sporadic" (McGuffin pers. comm. December 2000). Valeriana sitchensis is openly available in the herbal market and may also be used covertly as a substitute for V. officialis, the species most utilized by the medicinal industry and one that is commercially cultivated (pers. comm. A. Bentley, October 2000; pers. comm. N. Vance, November 2000). If the entire root is collected, there is a long regeneration time. Therefore, it is advisable to wait to collect this plant until seeds have dispersed (occurs within days of maturation) or to plant seeds at the time of harvest (Vance et al. in press) to alleviate threats to long-term population viability.

Short-term Trend Comments: Apparently relatively stable; no population inventories reporting major decline; however some experts in the medicinal plant industry have suggested that populations and species have declined over the past ten years (Robbins 1999).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: The range of Valeriana sitchensis in Canada includes Yukon, Mackenzie, British Columbia and Alberta. In the U.S. it occurs in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, northwestern California, Idaho and Montana.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CA, ID, IL, ME, MT, OR, WA, WI
Canada AB, BC, NT, YT

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Erect herbaceous perennial (0.3 to 1.2 m) with stout, branched rhizomes. Each stem has 2-5 opposite compound leaves with 3-5 pinnately divided leaflets. White to pink flowers are dense and showy and produce single-seeded fruits with a feathery plume (Haeussler 1990).
Ecology Comments: Valeriana sitchensis produces prominent flowers visited by bumblebees, flies, butterflies and skippers. Also reproduces through rhizomes, but self-crossing is probably common. This species is an early to late successional herbaceous species that grows both in open and shaded conditions. Plants tend to form dense colonies, though widely dispersed throughout range (Vance et al. in press).
Habitat Comments: Common in moist, rich regions in subalpine meadows and forests from 1200 to 2000 m. Habitat can range from lowland stream banks to wet alpine meadows (Haeussler 1990).
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Economic Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG
Production Method: Wild-harvested
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 25Jan2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Kelly McConnell

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Pojar, J., and A. MacKinnon, eds. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska. Lone Pine Publishing, Vancouver, British Columbia and Renton, Washington. 527 pp.

  • Robbins, C. 1999. Medicine from US wildlands: An assessment of native plant species harvested in the United States for medicinal use and trade and evaluation of the conservation and management implications. Traffic North America. Prepared for The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. Available at http://www.nps.gov/plants/medicinal/.

  • Vance, N.C., M. Borsting and D. Pilz. In press. Special forest products species information guide for Pacific Northwest. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, General Technical Report PNW-GTR-XX.

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