Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian is a hardy perennial growing to about 5 feet. The stems are succulent, hollow and grooved. The deeply divided leaves are larger at the base, becoming progressively smaller on the flower stalks. Seven to ten pairs of lance-shaped leaf segments characterize the fern-like leaves. The tiny, fragrant flowers are pink, white or lavender and are borne in flat, umbel-like clusters. Valerian flowers from late May through August. Widely used to allay pain, nervous unrest, migraine and insomnia. Roots should be simmered very lightly for 10 minutes. Pungent flowers. Best to let roots size up for a few years.