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Scutellaria elliptica

Hairy skullcap (Scutellaria elliptica) is a native herbaceous perennial in the Lamiaceae. This species is very similar to Scutellaria incana and it comes down to splitting hairs to separate them.  A newer common name for the genus is tractor seat since skullcaps are not around much anymore but tractors are.  The stems are square in cross-section.  The leaves are opposite, simple, and have pinnate major veins.  The inflorescence is formed of terminal racemes.  The flowers are perfect and irregular, with five two-lipped sepals, five petals, and four exserted stamens.  The upper lip of the calyx is crested and enlarges over the fruit, creating the skullcap or tractor seat.  The five petals are two-lipped, with two petals in the upper lip and three in the lower lip.  The petals are blue and have a white throat.  The four-lobed ovary is superior, and the style arises between the lobes.  The fruit is a schizocarp with four mericarps. The blades have cuneate bases and hairs are non-glandular.  It seems to be a plant of pine forest but also hardwood forests. Quite a bit of Scutellaria elliptica on Allen Acres mostly in the longl;eaf restoration area. .  Scutellaria is an important medicinal plant and Caterpillars of Yellow-lined Chocolate moth are reported to eat Scutellaria. There are eleven species in Louisiana including the recently (1980’s) introduced Scutellaria racemosa.

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