Centranthus ruber

Red valerian

Family: Valerianaceae

Origin: Mediterranean

Close up of tiny red valerian flowers.
Can grow in dense populations that cover the ground and prevent native seeds from germinating. Best to hand pull and return to the site a few times to make sure seeds have not germinated.
Photo credit: Colin Ogle

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Perennial herb < 80 cm tall. Leaves are blue/green, variable and < 17 x 5 cm. Flowers are pink/red/white and borne in November – June. Fruit is < 4 mm long.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment, from 1 September 2021, you:

  • will not be allowed to breed, distribute, release or sell red valerian within the Auckland region.
  • will not be allowed to plant red valerian within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • must destroy any red valerian on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Coastal habitats, cliffs, shingle beaches, volcanic rock, rock walls, roadsides, wasteland.


Seeds dispersed by wind.

Impact on environment

Displaces native vegetation. May compete with threatened short stature plant species.


Site management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Foliar spray in summer with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 200ml glyphosate green per 10L and 20ml penetrant

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of red valerian flowers.
A perennial herb that grows up to 80cm tall. Leaves are a bluey green and can vary in colour, growing up to 17cm long.
Photo credit: Colin Ogle
Red valerian growing by the footpath.
A popular flower garden plant, red valerian can produce large clusters of distinct pinky/ red flowers. The long flowering season begins in spring and continues to winter.
Photo credit: Colin Ogle
Red valerian seeds.
Seeds are small and are formed with white fluff to allow them to be spread by the wind. A hardy plant that can grow in hot dry areas as well as coastal areas.
Photo credit: Colin Ogle