It was one of the territories affected by the The Gnomish Plague. Physic's preferred gnomish apothecary is located in this valley; this apothecary was closed due to The Plague when Physic attempted to visit it for supplies.
The southern end of Starkrial Valley is The Lake of Blood; much of the foliage has withered there. The lake is highly acidic, and touching the surface can be lethal. A cave is located on the side, and it was where Lady Gisela was dragged through. This cave was later revealed to be an ogre prison.
Physic's apothecary is presumably on the other side, as it was first overrun when the plague had not reached the lake.