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Marsh Valerian (Valeriana uliginosa)

Life history

Species overview

Marsh Valerian (Valeriana uliginosa), a Wisconsin Threatened plant, is found in calcareous, coniferous swamps. Blooming occurs late June through late July; fruiting occurs late July through late August. The optimal identification period for this species is late June through late July.

Synonyms: Valeriana sitchensis var. uliginosa, Valeriana sylvatica var. uliginosa


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Basal leaves undivided, or with a single pair of small basal lobes.
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence a branched cluster; flowers all bisexual; corolla white, 5-lobed, 5 to 7 mm.
  • Fruit characteristics: Achenes lanceolate to ovate, 3 to 4 mm, smooth.
  • Leaf characteristics: Basal leaves long, blade ovate-elliptic, 6 to 14 cm, toothed or entire, or with single pair of small basilateral lobes; cauline leaves in 3 to 6 pairs.


  • Blooming phenology: late June through late July
  • Fruiting phenology: late July through late August
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is late June through late July


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Larix laricina, Thuja occcidentalis, Abies balsamea, Picea mariana, Carex lacustris, tenuiflora, C. gynocrates, Alnus rugosa.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Marsh Valerian (Valeriana uliginosa). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Valeriana uliginosa in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusTHR
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG4
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in calcareous, coniferous swamps.
  • Soils: Wet to mesic, peaty, calcareous soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Marsh Valerian. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Marsh Valerian. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • No avoidance measures have been developed for this species.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • No guidance has been developed for this species.


Marsh Valerian Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Marsh Valerian Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Marsh Valerian Photo.

Photo by  staff, Wisconsin DNR.

Marsh Valerian Photo.

Photo by  staff, Wisconsin DNR.

Marsh Valerian Photo.

Valeriana uliginosa

Photo © Suzan Campbell.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition