Valeriana officinalis (v. officinalis):
Valeriana officinalis, or common valerian, is part of the valeriana genus of over 150 species of perennials. Valerian is a very nice looking plant, with dense clusters of small, white-pink flowers and grows up to 5 feet tall in zones 4-7, nearly world-wide.
The small flowers of the valerian plant are said to have a very strong scent, with a musty undertone that attracts cats (and possibly rats), due in part to a compound called “actinidine”, which is found in the essential oils of valeriana officinalis.
The flavor of all usable parts of valeriana officinalis is described as extremely bitter, requiring the use of a sweetener when taken by tea or infusion.
Growing Valeriana officinalis/valerian root:
V. officinalis is an easy to grow plant, which requires only moderate attention through the growing season, and may even be grown in containers. It likes to be grown in full-sun, but partial shade will not hurt this herb much, and when planted in a nutrient-rich, well-drained soil, valeriana officinalis will thrive.