This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Annual dichotomously branched herbs, the basal leaves tufted, entire, those of the stem sessile, often dentate, the flowers in terminal, compact or capitate, in our species corymbed or panicled cymes. Corolla small, white, blue, or pink, nearly, regular. Calyx-limb short or obsolete in flower, in fruit various, not divided into filiform plumose segments, often none. Corolla-tube narrowed at the base, the limb spreading, 5-lobed. Stamens 3; style minutely 3-lobed at the summit. Fruit 3-celled, 2 of the cells empty, and in our species about as large as the fertile one. [Name a diminutive of Valerian.]
About 50 species, natives of the northern hemisphere, most abundant in the Mediterranean region. Besides the following, 8 others occur in the western parts of North America. Type species: Valeriana Locusta L.
Corolla funnelform, the short tube not longer than the limb or about equalling it. Fruit flattened, twice as broad as thick; corolla blue.
1. V. Locusta.
Fruit triangular-pyramidal; corolla white.
2. V. chenopodifolia.
Fruit oblong-tetragonal or ovoid-tetragonal, grooved. Groove of the fruit broad and shallow.
3. V. radiata.
Groove of the fruit narrow.
4. V. stenocarpa.
Fruit globose or saucer-shaped.
5. V. Woodsiana.
Corolla salverform, purplish, the slender tube much longer than the limb.
6. V. longiflora.
Valeriana Locusta and var. olitoria L. Sp. Pl.
33. 1753. Valerianella olitoria Poll. Hist. Pl. Palat. I:
30. 1776. Valerianella Locusta Bettke. Anim. Val. 10.
Glabrous, or pubescent at the nodes, 6'-12' high, usually branched from the base and repeatedly forked. Basal leaves spatu-late or oblanceolate, rounded and obtuse at the apex, 11/4'-2' long, 3"-5" wide, entire; upper stem leaves oblong-lanceolate, usually dentate; peduncles short; cymes 3"-6" broad, almost capitate; bracts linear or linear-oblong; corolla blue, about 1" long; fruit flattened, rounded on the edges, 1" long, glabrous, twice as broad as thick, depressed-orbicular in outline, the two empty cavities smaller than the fertile one, which has a corky mass at its back.
In fields and waste places, Maine to Ontario, Idaho, Arkansas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Louisiana. Naturalized from Europe. The plant is cultivated and the leaves used for salad under the name of fetticus. White pot-herb, lamb's-lettuce, milk-grass. April-July.
Fedia chenopodifolia Pursh, Fl. Am. Sept. 727. 1814.
V. chenopodifolia DC. Prodr. 4: 629. 1830.
Fedia Fagopyrum T. & G. Fl. N. A. 2: 51. 1841.
• Glabrous, 1°-2° high. Leaves entire, or the basal and lower ones repand, spatulate, obtuse; upper stem leaves oblong or lanceolate, 1'-3' long; cymes dense, 6"-8" broad, at length slender-peduncled; bracts lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate; corolla white, about 1" long; fruit triangular-pyramidal, 2" long, 1" thick, glabrous or minutely pubescent, the two empty cavities narrower than the fertile one but about as deep.
In moist soil, western New York to Virginia, Minnesota and Kentucky. May-July.