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Common Name: Tobacco Root
Valeriana ciliata is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.75 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Some caution is advised with the use of this plant. At least one member of the genus is considered to be poisonous raw[
] and V. officinalis is a powerful nervine and sedative that can become habit-forming.
N. America - southwards from S. Ontario..
Prairies, sloughs and hillsides[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[
Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Root - cooked[
]. The odoriferous root is slowly baked for 2 days and then eaten as a vegetable, used in soups or made into a bread[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed because it requires light for germination[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant out into their permanent positions in the summer if sufficient growth has been made. If the plants are too small to plant out, grow them on in the greenhouse or frame for their first winter and plant them out early in the following summer.
Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.