Downy Skullcap

Scutellaria incana
Lamiaceae (mints)

A perennial with branching, 4-angled stems and short, gray hair. Flowers in several terminal or near-terminal racemes, purplish blue. The arching upper lip is the “skullcap”; the lower lip is flat and 3-lobed. Blooms June-September. Leaves opposite, to 6 inches long, the largest toward center of stalk, ovate-lanceolate with a rounded base and coarse, blunt teeth, covered by fine hair. According to some, it is the seed-bearing structure that looks like a cap.

Height: 2½–3 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in rocky, open woods, wooded slopes, streamsides, along ledges of bluffs, ravines, thickets, roadsides, and railroads.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Ozarks and north-central counties; mostly in the southern half of Missouri.
Human connections: 
This is a deserving native plant for the wildflower garden; it is showy, easy to grow, and tolerates dry conditions.
Ecosystem connections: 
Bumblebees are the primary pollinators, though many insects eat the nectar. Because of the distasteful oils in this mint, few mammals eat this plant.
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