Scutellaria lateriflora (Mad-dog Skullcap)

Plant Info
Also known as: Blue Skullcap
Family:Lamiaceae (Mint)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist to wet soil; meadows, floodplains, shores, creek banks, marshes, swamps, wet ditches
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:10 to 30 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Pairs of flowers in racemes emerging from leaf axils in the upper plant. A leafy bract is at the base of a pair of blooms, the bracts becoming smaller as they ascend the stalk. Flowers are small, irregular trumpet shaped, ¼ to 1/3 inch (5 to 8 mm) long, covered with short hairs, the lower lip is flared slightly larger than the upper hood-like lip. The calyx holding the flower has a small ridge-like protuberance at the top.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 3 inches (3 to 8 cm) long, to 1½ inches wide, thin, coarsely toothed, mostly hairless or with a few sparse hairs, on a stalk up to 1 inch long. Lower leaves are broadly lance-like, rounded at the base tapering to a point, typically wilting away (deciduous) by mid-season. Upper leaves become smaller and more lance shaped. Stems are square and erect, usually hairless or sometimes with fine hairs, branching in the upper plant.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] The calyx swells into a capsule, containing a spherical cluster of 4 brown nutlets.


Mad-dog Skullcap is frequently found growing in the same habitats as Marsh Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata), which is easy to distinguish by its larger flowers borne in pairs from the leaf axils, with a more pronounced lower lip, white covered in blue spots, and its proportionately narrower, stiff leaves that are stalkless or nearly so.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey and Chisago counties. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Aitkin counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Brian
on: 2013-02-22 21:30:27

Seen in Chamberlain Woods SNA floodplain forest on July 15, 2012.

Posted by: Davis Redmond - Lower Cullen Lake
on: 2018-07-24 09:46:24

Found growing on the shore near the boat launch on Lower Cullen Lake near Nisswa. Blooming on July 23

Posted by: Tim Johnson - Hennepin County
on: 2018-08-26 16:18:21

Mississippi shoreline.

Posted by: Loretta Dahl - Lake Gilfillan, North Oaks
on: 2019-08-17 19:26:54

Shoreline area mixed with water horehound and reed canary grass.

Posted by: luciearl - lake shore
on: 2020-08-13 21:48:57

Found this growing in my shoreline buffer today.West side Gull Lake. Much tinier than marsh skullcap.

Posted by: Deane Johnson - Hubbard County
on: 2021-11-12 06:47:00

It blooms on our sandy/natural shoreline in a few spots, definitely present in Hubbard County.

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