Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Mad-dog Skullcap - Scutellaria lateriflora   L.
Members of Lamiaceae:
Members of Scutellaria with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Lamiales » Family Lamiaceae
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DistributionScattered across the entire state, but likely absent along the immediate coast, with no records yet for any coastal county.

This is a very widespread species from east to west, ranging from Canada south barely to northern FL and to CA.
AbundanceGenerally infrequent across the state, to at least locally fairly common. Despite records on the map for 60 counties (more than half of the state's 100 counties), this is certainly not close to a common species. However, Weakley's (2018) map shows it as "common" in all three provinces, but that is based mostly on number of county records and not actually in-the-field abundance. However, the website editors suggest moving the S4 State Rank assigned by NCNHP to S4S5, owing to its wide range.
HabitatThis is an obligate wetland species, found most often in openings in swamps and bottomlands, along pool margins, in marshes and bogs, and in seepages.
PhenologyA fairly late-blooming Scutellaria, from July to frost, and fruits soon after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a somewhat openly branched skullcap and is seldom a strict, narrow stem. It grows to about 1.5-2 feet tall, and often at least half as broad. It has numerous paired leaves, each with a moderate petiole, and an ovate to narrowly ovate blade, about 2 inches long and about 3/4-inch wide, serrated on the margins, with a rounded base. It is a very "floriferous" species, with short racemes in quite a few axils of the branches, each raceme several inches long and containing many small flowers but all facing the same direction (i.e., a one-sided raceme). Each flower is only about 2/5-inch long, but usually bright blue, rarely pink to white. Thus, in most Scutellaria species, one often notices individual flowers, but in the species, one notices the many one-sided racemes, and to study each flower you must bend down to get a close look. It is not common, but it is widespread enough to be encountered a few times in a given year by an active biologist. And, it arguably does have the brightest blue flowers in the genus in the state.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Tall Blue Skullcap, Blue Skullcap, American Skullcap
State RankS4 [S4S5]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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