Skullcap

©Philip Precey

Skullcap

Scientific name: Scutellaria galericulata
The delicate, tube-like, violet-blue flowers of Skullcap bloom from June to September in damp places, such as marshes, fens, riverbanks and pond margins.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 40cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to September

About

Skullcap can be found on damp ground, such as marshes, fens, riverbanks, pond margins and canalsides. This delicate flower blooms between June and September and is pollinated by long-tongued bees; it is also the only foodplant of the Skullcap Leaf Beetle - a yellowy-brown beetle with a black head and four spots on its back.

How to identify

Skullcap has violet-blue, tube-like flowers that have two 'lips' and sit in pairs in the leaf axils (where they join the stem). They have square stems and oval leaves, with toothed margins, that appear in opposite pairs. The closely related Lesser Skullcap has pink flowers.

Distribution

Scattered distribution across the UK; most common in England and Wales.

Did you know?

There are about 350 species of skullcap worldwide. Blue Skullcap grows in North America and was used by Native Americans to treat nervous disorders and as a sedative - it was often made into a herbal tea or dried for smoking. Here, Skullcap has been used by traditional herbalists in the same way.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.