Valerians, Scabiouses & Allies

Common Cornsalad Common Cornsalad Common Cornsalad

What are they?

This group consists of a number of species that look rather disimilar, but which all have somewhat similar, tubular flowers. Until recently, they were widely considered to form the families Valerianaceae (the valerians), Valerianellaceae (the cornsalads) and Dipsacaceae (the teasels and scabiouses). Some taxonomists now place them all in an expanded honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae). These plants mostly differ from the woody members of the honeysuckle family by being non-woody, herbaceous annuals or perennials.

Where are they found?

This is a diverse group of plants, but most are generally found in grassy places and waste ground.


Most species are readily recognized from the pictures below, but the cornsalad group can be very difficult - though currently, only two species are known from Cape May County and only one is at all common.

Common Cornsalad      Valerianella locusta

A small and easily overlooked annual plant, introduced from Europe. Scattered at a number of sites in short grassy areas in parks and cemeteries. Flowers April to June. The tiny, pale blue flowers are carried in flat heads which are surrounded by broad, green bracts.
Common Cornsalad Common Cornsalad Common Cornsalad Common Cornsalad
Flower close-up
Seed capsules