Downy-fruited valerian blooming atop the cliffs at the head of Kiger Gorge, Steens Mountain...........July 11, 2014.
Downy-fruited valerian is a short-stemmed (10-60 cm high) perennial with fibrous roots from a thick, branched rhizome, and smooth herbage. The basal leaves are lanceolate to oblanceolate or spatulate in shape up to 8 cm long and 3.5 cm wide (See photo at right and below.). The lowermost of the 1-3 pairs of stem leaves are often undivided and petiolate, while the upper pairs of leaves are often pinnatifid with several or few short lateral lobes (See photo at right.) which are rarely as much as 1 cm wide.
The inflorescence is congested and from 1.5-5 cm wide in bloom and about as wide in fruit. The flowers are perfect with white corollas 4-7 mm long and the 5 petals or lobes of the corolla less than half as long as the tube. The stamens are well exserted from the mouth of the corolla.
Downy-fruited valerian may be found on open, often rocky slopes at moderate to high elevations in the mountains. It is often found near melting snow banks.
Downy-fruited valerian may be found east of the crest of the Cascades in Oregon east through the Blue Mts and Steens Mt. east to the Rocky Mts. of southwestern Montana, and south to Arizona, New Mexico, and California.
-Downy-fruited valerian beginning to bloom near the summit of Round Mt., Ochoco National Forest..........May 28, 2016.
-What appears to be downy-fruited valerian observed along the Hanan Trail 142 near the upper Sycan Wild and Scenic River about one mile upstream from the trailhead on FS Road 28, Fremont-Winema National Forest......June 17, 2020. There's a possibility this could be Valeriana columbiana. I'll have to return and take a closer look at the flowers and basal leaves to confirm this identification.
Valeriana acutiloba from Lookout Mt., Ochoco N.F.........June 22, 1998.