Downy Skullcap

Photo of downy skullcap flower clusters
Scientific Name
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.

Where To Find
image of Downy Skullcap distribution map

Ozarks and north-central counties; mostly in the southern half of Missouri.

Occurs in rocky, open woods, wooded slopes, streamsides, along ledges of bluffs, ravines, thickets, roadsides, and railroads.

This is a deserving native plant for the wildflower garden; it is showy, easy to grow, and tolerates dry conditions.

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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About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri
A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!