Flower of the Day: Hairy Skullcap

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Scutellaria elliptica
Lamiaceae

 

 

 

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Don’t you just love common names sometimes?

 

 

This woodland forb is one of only a few plants blooming now in the Gorge.  It ranges from New York and Michigan south to Florida and Texas.  There are more than 40 other native species of Scutellaria scattered throughout the US, ten of which can be found in Maryland.  With the exception of veiny skullcap last year (but not this year), I’ve never seen any of the others.  In the Gorge you’ll find hairy skullcap in the drier soils and rocky areas well above river level, especially in the vicinity of Carderock and the Marsden Tract.

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I’ve never come across it in the nursery trade and wonder why.  Although somewhat short at 2 1/2 feet tall, it would make a lovely addition to a partly shady perennial border, for the inflorescence is quite showy and lasts several weeks.  It is an inconspicuous plant without the flowers, though.  Maybe that’s why.

 

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