Valerianella is a genus of ca. 50 species, mainly native to the northern hemisphere (some in North Africa). Many are weeds of arable land. Four species are native (or at least archaeophytic) in Belgium: Valerianella carinata Loisel., V. dentata (L.) Pollich, V. locusta (L.) Laterr. and V. rimosa Bast. Most of these also occur as grain aliens in port areas.

A vigorous form of native Valerianella locusta (var. oleracea (Schlecht.) Breistr.) is widely cultivated as a salad plant. It has been recorded as an alien on dumps, for instance in Rumbeke-Roeselare in 2005.

1. Calyx on fruit absent or very inconspicuous, less than 1/10 of the body of the fruit (native) === Valerianella carinata and V. locusta

1. Calyx on fruit more or less distinct, ca. ¼ to nearly as long as the body of the fruit === 2

2. Two sterile loculi well-developed, usually as large as fertile loculus (transversal section of fruit) (native) === V. rimosa

2. Two sterile loculi vestigial, reduced to slender ribs on the fruit === 3

3. Calyx on fruit nearly as long and as wide as the body of the fruit (distinctly constricted at base), with 6 teeth. Fruit always hairy === 1. Valerianella eriocarpa

3. Calyx on fruit much shorter and narrower than body of the fruit (confluent with the apex of the fruit), with 1-3 teeth. Fruit usually glabrous, rarely with curved hairs (native) === V. dentata

Additional aliens: Valerianella coronata (L.) DC. (Medit., W- and C-As., Macaronesia, seed alien) and V. vesicaria (L.) Moench (Medit., vector unknown).


Weberling (1969), Ernet & Richardson (1976), Weberling (1976), Ernet (1978), Kirschner (1997), Lambinon & al. (2004).

Ernet D. & Richardson I.B.K. (1976) Valerianella. In: Tutin T.G. & al. (eds.), Flora Europaea, vol. 4. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 48-52.

Ernet D. (1978) Fruchtbau und Verbreitungsbiologie von Valerianella und Fedia (Valerianaceae). Pl. Syst. Evol. 130: 85-126.

Kirschner J. (1997) Valerianella. In: Slavík B. (ed.), Kvetena Ceské Republiky, vol. 5. Academia, Praha: 510-516.

Lambinon J., Delvosalle L., Duvigneaud J. (avec coll. Geerinck D., Lebeau J., Schumacker R. & Vannerom H. (2004) Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des Régions voisines (Ptéridophytes et Spermatophytes). Cinquième édition. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise: CXXX + 1167 p.

Weberling F. (1969) Zur Bestimmung der einheimischen und adventiv vorkommenden Valerianella-Arten. Hess. Florist. Briefe 18: 33-38.

Weberling F. (1976) Bestimmungsschlüssel der einheimischen und adventiv vorkommenden Valerianella-Arten. Gött. Florist. Briefe 10(4): 3-6.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith