Garden valerian (Valeriana officinalis), is an invasive plant that is becoming a particular problem in the northern parts of Wisconsin and our neighboring states, although it has been documented in southern Wisconsin counties as well. It has been planted in gardens for many years and it is also used for medicinal purposes, but in recent years it has escaped cultivation and is spreading at a worrisome rate.
Garden valerian is a good example of how an invasive species can exist for many decades in small isolated pockets that don’t seem to be spreading, but then suddenly shows up everywhere. The plant is now becoming quite common on roadsides along the north shore of Lake Superior.
If you believe you have giant hogweed growing in your area, contact the Wisconsin DNR to report it.
Photos by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org.
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