Red Valerian

Centranthus ruber

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  3. Red Valerian

About

The dense clusters of deep pink, almost crimson flowers, of Red Valerian are unmistakeable as they grow out on tall stems from old stone walls, roadside verges, railway cuttings, cliffs and rocks. Introduced into gardens before the 1600s, this plant from the Mediterranean soon escaped and became naturalised in the wild. Despite its non-native status, it is a good source of nectar for bees, butterflies and moths like the Hummingbird Hawk-moth.

How to identify

Opposite pairs of pale green, oval leaves appear along the upright stems of Red Valerian. At the ends of the stems, dense clusters of tiny, pink, red or even white flowers bloom in an almost cylindrical head from May to October.

Where to find it

Common in the south and south-west of the UK, becoming less so further north.

Habitats

When to find it

  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

Red Valerian is an introduced species that has become widespread and naturalised in the UK over hundreds of years without much cause for concern. However, the effects of introduced species are not always as benign. The Wildlife Trusts work with researchers, scientists and other conservationists to monitor changes in our native wildlife to determine the effects of environmental change, such as the introduction of new species or climate change. You can help: volunteer for your local Trust and you'll be able to monitor populations and survey habitats, adding to a growing bank of data.

Species information

Common name
Red Valerian
Latin name
Centranthus ruber
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 75cm
Conservation status
Introduced species.