Showy Skullcap

Scutellaria serrata

Here’s a beautiful wildflower! The dainty flowers are two shades of purple and they are held high above the simple and attractive foliage. The morphology of the flower is interesting at each stage of development–from new buds to maturity. Just take a look at some of the photos below…

Skullcaps are in the Mint Family. As you view the images in the photo gallery below, note the square stem on the plants –this is a characteristic of all mints.

The leaves of this particular skullcap are oval, pointed at the tip, and serrate (or toothed). The leaf edges turn dark red as they mature. In May and June, a long spike of 1-inch blue or purple flowers is formed at the top of the plant.

Showy skullcap is a native of Appalachian woodlands but there are many species. I found these specimens in two places: at Falls Ridge Preserve in Montgomery County in May, and along the banks of Big Stoney Creek in late May.  I’m not entirely certain they are both Showy Skullcaps, but I think so! Please let me know if you think otherwise. 🙂

Also in bloom at Fall’s Ridge in May was Goatsbeard!

Goatsbeard in bloom at Fall's Ridge Preserve (late May)
Goatsbeard in bloom at Fall’s Ridge Preserve (late May)

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