LESSER SKULLCAP

Scutellaria minor

Mint / Dead-Nettle Family [Lamiaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8bicolour
 
flower
flower8pink
 
flower
flower8white
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ2
 
type
typeZtrumpet
 
type
typeZfused
 
stem
stem8square
 
smell
smell8faint
faint

28th Aug 2017, Totley Tunnel, Dark Peaks. Photo: © RWD
At up to 25cm high this is half the height to which Skullcap can grow. At ever leaf-node a pair of 'swept-wing' leaves grows and a pair of pink flowers pointing forwards.


28th Aug 2017, Totley Tunnel, Dark Peaks. Photo: © RWD
The stem is square in cross-section so the leaf-pairs are in quadrature (on alternate opposite sides of the stem) all the way up the stem.


28th Aug 2017, Totley Tunnel, Dark Peaks. Photo: © RWD
Where only one flower of a pair remains, the other has matured and dropped out of the tiny calyx. Unlike the larger 10-18mm long corolla of the blue blowers of Skullcap, Lesser Skullcap has pink flowers which are smaller and shorter at only 6-10mm.


28th Aug 2017, Totley Tunnel, Dark Peaks. Photo: © RWD
The calyx still has a characteristic hump or flap on the upper part of the calyx which is also found on Skullcap. The calyx is either glabrous (without hairs) or has non-glandular hairs.


28th Aug 2017, Totley Tunnel, Dark Peaks. Photo: © RWD
Open wide, this wont hurt. Those tonsils might need to come out.
Although the petals are fused into a slightly widening and slightly meandering tube, the opening consists of two lips, the upper of which has three lobes, with the centre entertaining the 4 anthers (only two of which are discernible here). The longer lower lip actually has 4 shallower lobes, better seen in the photos above.


28th Aug 2017, Totley Tunnel, Dark Peaks. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are variable in shape, some having one or two teeth near the stem, sometimes the base is cordate (heart-shaped - as here) or flat with two large triangular lobes either side and either with non-glandular hairs or bald.


28th Aug 2017, Totley Tunnel, Dark Peaks. Photo: © RWD
The stem is decidedly square, very square - and without evidence of grooves or ridges unlike Skullcap which has both.


28th Aug 2017, Totley Tunnel, Dark Peaks. Photo: © RWD
That's just about the long and short of it. This specimen has possibly 14 pairs of leaves, all well spaced out where it grows faster, and closer together nearer the top where it is still growing. The leaves have conspicuous grooved veins.


Hybridizes with : Skullcap (Scutellaria garlericulata) to produce Scutellaria × hybrida which occurs near the parents and is very sterile but spreads vigorously vegetatively.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The twinned pinkish flowers sitting just above a pair of opposite leaves on a square stem, both flowers pointing in the same direction.

Lesser Skullcap, according to some, now only grows just South of London and near Portsmouth, but there are some rare and isolated outbreaks much further north, like here for instance, or other places such as the IoM and north up to the Hebrides. Like Skullcap it is native. It grows in wet grassy places, wet heaths and open woodland on acid soils.


  Scutellaria minor  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Lamiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Mint / Dead-Nettle family8Lamiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Scutellaria
Scutellaria
(Skullcaps)

LESSER SKULLCAP

Scutellaria minor

Mint / Dead-Nettle Family [Lamiaceae]