Scutellaria lateriflora is a herbaceous plant also known as Blue skullcap, Hoodwort, Virginian skullcap, mad-dog skullcap is a hardy perennial herb native to North America. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which also includes many other herbs. The form is upright and is usually 0.2 meter to 0.45 meter in height. It is a wetland loving species and grows along fens and shorelines. The blue flowers appear in July to September and are 10-20 millimeter; long. Most of the flowers do not appear at the top of the main stem, but are produced along the length of side branches that grow from the nodes of the main stem. The flowers are grouped in pairs and orientate themselves to one side of the branches.
The name of the species, ‘lateriflora’ means having ‘lateral flowers’ or ‘flowers to the side.’ Scutellaria lateriflora is used in herbal medicine as a mild sedative and sleep promoter. Scutellaria, as a genus, has numerous medicinal uses and various species of skullcap are used in the same way. It should be noted though that the traditional uses of Virginian Skullcap should not be confused with those of other Skullcaps as there are 200 different species of Skullcap and they are not all used in the same way. Blue skullcap is often used in the same way as for Common skullcap (S. galericulata), Western skullcap (S. cordifolia), or Southern skullcap all of which are very genetically similar. Blue Skullcap and Common Skullcap are mainly known for their traditional use as an incense and herbal teas.
- Willamette Valley