Narrowleaf Skullcap

A native perennial, narrowleaf skullcap (Scutellaria antirrhinoides) is found in Washington, Oregon and California. This member of the mint family inhabits dry, open areas at low to moderate elevations.

Like all members of the mint family, narrowleaf skullcap has a square stem and opposite leaves. The erect stem grows from spreading rhizomes, often resulting in patches of plants. The leaves have a short petiole (stalk), are 3 to 5 nerved, are lance, elliptical or oval in shape and have rounded tips. The entire plant is covered with small hairs.

The blue to violet flower of narrowleaf skullcap has five petals arranged into a two-lipped tubular shape. The throat of the flower is nearly closed, the upper lip is hood-like and the lower lip has white mottling. The solitary flowers arise from leaf axiles. The upper calyx (the sepals collectively) form a structure or appendage with a concave depression. The genus name, Scutellaria, comes from “scutella” meaning “tray” and refers to the appendage on the calyx. Once the corolla (petals) fall, the four nutlets are enclosed in the calyx,

Narrowleaf skullcap is also commonly called nose skullcap and snapdragon skullcap.

Skullcaps are often used in herbal medicine. The primary active compound is scutellarin, a flavinoid that has been shown to have sedative and antispasmodic properties.

These narrowleaf skullcaps were growing near the headwaters of Burney Creek on the Headwaters Trail in Burney Falls State Park (Shasta County CA).

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