Scutellaria lateriflora (Mad-dog Skullcap)
|Also known as:||Blue Skullcap|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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:
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.
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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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?
on: 2013-02-22 21:30:27
Seen in Chamberlain Woods SNA floodplain forest on July 15, 2012.
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
on: 2018-08-26 16:18:21
on: 2019-08-17 19:26:54
Shoreline area mixed with water horehound and reed canary grass.
on: 2020-08-13 21:48:57
Found this growing in my shoreline buffer today.West side Gull Lake. Much tinier than marsh skullcap.
on: 2021-11-12 06:47:00
It blooms on our sandy/natural shoreline in a few spots, definitely present in Hubbard County.