April 24, 2017

Thinking Cap

Scutellaria galericulata - common skullcap | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Scutellaria galericulata – common skullcap | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Scutellaria galericulata is a hardy native perennial herb and a member of the mint family. It is known as common skullcap or marsh skullcap or hooded skullcap. And it is quite common: The plant has a circumboreal distribution in the Northern Hemisphere, which means it circles the globe in the north temperate zone. The herb has long been used medicinally – mainly for nervous disorders – although caution is advised since several species are used for various purposes. S. galericulata also is being studied for use as an environmentally friendly pest control because of terpenoids present in skullcap that affect the feeding habits of some insects. S. galericulata is one of the plants being stored in the Millennium Seed Bank, where seeds of the species are kept frozen inside the seed bank vault in an effort to preserve plant life from around the world.

Wild Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory, www.mainenaturalhistory.org.

In 2012, Glen began working to catalog the plants of Baxter State Park, which you can read about here and find out how to sponsor a plant of your own. Courtesy of a poll taken in 2012, Garden Maine is sponsoring this lovely plant.