Valeriana locusta L., Sp. Pl.: 33 (1753) (syn: Fedia caerulea Aitkin ex Eaton & Wright ; Fedia ecalyculata Stokes ; Fedia locusta (L.) Rchb.; Fedia locusta var. lasiocarpa Rchb. ; Fedia olitaria (L.) Vahl ; Fedia olitcria (L.) Mirb. ; Fedia paniculata Colla ; Fedia striata Steven ; Locusta communis Delarbre; Masema olitorium (L.) Dulac ; Valeriana locusta subsp. olitoria (L.) Ehrh. ; Valeriana locusta var. olitoria L. ; Valeriana olitoria (L.) Willd. ; Valerianella caerulea Eaton & Wright ; Valerianella dichotoma Gilib. ; Valerianella locusta (L.) Laterr.; Valerianella locusta subsp. dunensis (D.E.Allen) P.D.Sell ; Valerianella locusta var. dunensis Allen ; Valerianella locusta subsp. lusitanica (Pau ex Font Quer) M.Laínz ; Valerianella lusitanica Pau ex Font Quer ; Valerianella olitoria (L.) Pollich ; Valerianella olitoria var. dichotoma Lej. ; Valerianella olitoria var. laciniata Gray ; Valerianella olitoria var. lasiocarpa Rchb. ; Valerianella olitoria var. latifolia Gray ; Valerianella olitoria var. leiocarpa Rchb. ; Valerianella olitoria var. procera Gray ; Valerianella olitoria var. serratifolia Gray ; Valerianella pusilla Miégev. ; Valerianella rhombicarpa Aiken ex Torr. & A.Gray ; Valerianella striata Steven );
Europe to Caucasus, NW. Africa: Albania, Algeria, Austria, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Central European Rus, Corse, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East Aegean Is., East European Russia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Krym, Morocco, Netherlands, North Caucasus, Northwest European R, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sardegna, Sicilia, South European Russi, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Ukraine, Yugoslavia; Introduced into: Alabama, Argentina Northeast, Argentina South, Arkansas, Bermuda, Bolivia, British Columbia, California, Canary Is., Chile Central, Chile South, China Southeast, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Falkland Is., Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Japan, Kentucky, Korea, Madeira, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Réunion, South Carolina, Tasmania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia as per POWO;

Annual erect herb about 15-40 cm tall. Stem sparingly branched above the base. Leaves, lower ones spathulate to oblanceolate, 3-7 x 0.5-1.5 cm across, margin subentire, cauline leaves sessile, opposite, lanceolate, oblong, obtuse to oblanceolate, margin entire or distantly toothed near the base, glabrous, upper leaves smaller than the lower leaves. Flowers small in dichotomous branched spike, 1.5-2 mm. long, bracts 2-8 mm long, oblong, pubescent. Calyx tube cylindric about 1.5 mm long, obsolete or absent in fruiting with short apical tooth, with narrow long one sided rim. Corolla tube about 1.5 mm long with 5 spreading limbs, stamens 3, exerted shortly. Pistil with a tri-fid stigma. Achene ovoid-suborbiculate about 3 mm across, 3 loculed, fertile locule separated by a membrane, slightly longer than the sterile locule. Single seed with spongy mass on the back.
Temperate forests and cultivated.
Local Distribution: Jammu & Kashmir
(Attributions: Ganeshaiah, K. N., UAS, Bangalore, India. | Kailash, B. R., UAS & ATREE, Bangalore, India as per India Biodiversity Portal)


Please help ID this herb with some peculiar features:

Please help ID this herb which has some peculiar features as mentioned below:
Habitat: Edge of lawn in Rawathpora Srinagar. Almost all photos were taken in either the last week of April or first half of May
Habit : Herb with green stem 10-15 cm high. Leaves opposite about 5-6mm broad X 12 -15mm long.
Branching cymose. Inflorescence is compact and probably cymose
Some peculiar features:
1.Calyx gamosepalous with five lobes three narrow 0.5mmX 1.5mm and two broad 0.5mm X1.5 mm. The calyx is fused with the ovary and can not be separated from it. The lobes can be clearly seen in fruit( See photo 5 and photo8).
2.The Corolla has 5 lobes 0.5mm long and Corolla Tube is 1.5mm long and becomes very narrow at the bottom and seems to be attached directly to upper part of the ovary . In my limited experience this is the first time I have seen a corolla tube attached to the upper part of the ovary.( (See photo 4,photo 5 and photo 6)
3. The style is so thin and transparent that it is barely visible but when see seen with a microscope(X50) is clearly trifid (See photo 7). The filaments of the 5 stamens are also very thin, transparent and barely visible. Because of the narrowness of the corolla tube in the lower portion I could not ascertain the point of attachment of the stamens.
The fruit seems to contain a single seed. (see photo 9)

Valeriana sp.

Thanks for the ID.
However  according to Wikipedia Valerians have trifoliate pinnate leaves with serrated edges but here leaves are entire .Veins are not prominent (very different from leaves in V.himalayana photo at EFI). Also branching appears to be dichotomous (See attached photo). Also altitude of Rawathpora is about1600 meters  while V.himalayana  according to FOP occurs at 3000-5000m asl. Perhaps identification of the species would bring more clarity.

Not Valeriana rather Valerianella. Check for V. locusta, I had recorded it as new record in India in 1974, paper attached.
1 pdf attachment

Thanks for the correct I.D. and the attached paper.
It is surely Valerianella locusta and not valerian.
Hope the photos add to efloraofindia collection as I did not find any photos there.
The calyx lobes in ripe fruit (photo attached) have a single tooth.

Some interesting facts from a Wikipedia article about this herb:
Its common European names are lamb’s lettuce, common cornsalad, or simply cornsalad, mâche (/mɑːʃ/), fetticus, feldsalat, nut lettuce, field salad and valerian salad. In restaurants that feature French cuisine, it may be called doucette or raiponce. In some areas in Germany it is called Rapunzel and is the origin of the long haired lady’s name in the famous fairy tale.

Regarding its use as a vegetable it is written that:
“It has been eaten in Britain for centuries and appears in John Gerard’s Herbal of 1597. It was grown commercially in London from the late 18th or early 19th century and appeared on markets as a winter vegetable, but it only became available in modern supermarkets there in the 1980s. American president Thomas Jefferson cultivated mâche at his home.”

Maybe the plants were introduced in Srinagar during British rule.
Its cultivation and promotion as an exotic vegetable can be an attractive proposition for enterprising entrepreneurs in Kashmir.

Am attaching an1885 illustration of the plant which is in the public domain and which is very helpful.

Yes …, the other two species commonly found in Kashmir have very different calyx: as along as or longer than fruit, obliquely truncate in V. muricata; a long linear extension in V. szovitsiana.

Thanks for confirming and explaining how it differs from two other species muricata and szovitsiana which are also found in Kashmir.
This information would I hope be a valuable addition to the efi database

According to The Morton Arboretum the etymology of the botanical name V.locusta (L)Laterr is :
Valerianella is a diminutive of Valeriana, referring to the similarity between the two genera. Locusta means “growing in an enclosed area.”

Surprising Valerianella locusta is not listed in the area as per POWO and CoL.

However, BSI lists this species along with 3 others.
Pl. see and analyse.

AsV.locusta has been reported only from Srinagar first by Gurcharan ji and then by me in my post and as it is a popular salad in Europe I think that plants in Srinagar could have been introduced by British officers during British rule especially those with a taste for French cuisine where it is  served under the name Doucette and Raiponce.




POWO  Catalogue of Life  GBIF (High resolution specimens)  BSI Flora of India checklist  India Biodiversity Portal  Wikipedia PFAF   Go Botany

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