Just Not a Whole Lot Going On

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hairy skullcap
Scutelleria elliptica
Lamiaceae

 

It’s not like me to go for two weeks without posting, but I just haven’t gotten out as much this year. And the times I have gotten out, I’m not seeing much.

On June 6 I hiked about two miles around Carderock. I found a few rather wan-looking blossoms on partridgeberry plants, a single hairy skullcap (in an area where there should have been a dozen or more), some shining bedstraw, and a few blue-eyed grass. A patch of Culver’s root I discovered a month ago appears to have been browsed by deer (bastards). Ramps are in bud. Honewort is blooming, but you really have to be a plant geek to find honewort interesting.

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longleaf bluets
Houstonia longifolia
Rubiaceae

 

On June 7 I hiked about three miles on Sugarloaf Mountain, and found one small patch of longleaf bluets blooming. The mountain laurel are still going, though past their peak (they are all done at Carderock). Other than those and some fleabanes, I saw nothing else blooming, though there was an inch-tall spike starting on a downy rattlesnake plantain.

Looking at notes I’ve made over the past few years, I realize there is a bit of a lull from late May to mid June. But this is pretty slim pickings. I hope to get back to the Carderock area today to look for both purple bluets and longleaf bluets, though it may be too early for them.

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.