Scutellaria galericulata

Botanical Name :Scutellaria galericulata
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus:     Scutellaria
Species: S. galericulata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Lamiales

Synonyms:  Greater Scullcap. Helmet Flower. Hoodwort.
(French) Toque.

Common Names: Common skullcap, Marsh skullcap or Hooded skullcap,

Habitat :Scutellaria galericulata is  native to northern areas of the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, Asia, and much of North America.It grows on moist acid or calcareous soils on the edges of streams, in water meadows and fens, ascending to 360 metres in Britain.

Description:
Scutellaria galericulata is a hardy perennial herb. It is a member of the mint family. The form is upright and is usually 20 to 45 centimeters in height, sometimes reaching up to 80. It is a wetland-loving species and grows along fens and shorelines. The blue flowers are 1 to 2 centimeters long. The flowers are in pairs and are all on the same side of the stem. The flowers do not appear at the top of the stem.
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The plant is native to many parts of the world and, as such, is known by a variety of names. The Latin galericulata means “hooded”, relating to the length of the flower’s tube being much longer than the calyx. The variation epilobiifolia translates as leaves like willow-herb, and refers to the slightly serrated long thin leaves which look similar to those of the genus Epilobium.

The root-stock is perennial and creeping. The square stems, 6 to 18 inches high, are somewhat slender, either paniculately branched, or, in small specimens, nearly simple, with opposite downy leaves, oblong and tapering, heart-shaped at the base, 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long, notched and shortly petioled.

The flowers are in pairs, each growing from the axils of the upper, leaf-like bracts, which are quite indistinguishable from the true leaves, and are all turned one way, the pedicels being very short. The corollas are bright blue, variegated with white inside, the tube long and curved, three or four times as long as the calyx, the lips short, the lower lip having three shallow lobes.

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Soon after the corolla has fallen off, the upper lip of the calyx, which bulges outward about the middle, closes on the lower as if on a hinge, and gives it the appearance of a capsule with a lid. When the seed is ripe, the cup being dry, divides into two distinct parts, and the seeds, already detached from the receptacle, fall to the ground.

The plant is in flower from July to September. It is subglabrous, with the angles of the stem, the leaves and flowering calyx finely pubescent.

Cultivation:  
Succeeds in a sunny position in any ordinary garden soil that does not dry out during the growing season.

 Propagation :    
Seed – sow in situ outdoors in late spring. If there is only a small quantity of seed it is better to sow it in a pot in a cold frame in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the spring. Division in spring just before new growth begins. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer. Basal cuttings in early summer in a frame. Very easy. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiinflammatory;  Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Febrifuge;  Nervine;  Tonic.

The herb is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, slightly astringent, febrifuge, nervine and strongly tonic. In the home an infusion is sometimes used in the treatment of throat infections. The plant is harvested in the summer as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use. This plant is rarely if ever used in herbal medicine, though it is said to have the same applications as S. lateriflora. These applications are:- Skullcap was traditionally used in the treatment of a wide range of nervous conditions including epilepsy, insomnia, anxiety, delirium tremens, withdrawal from barbiturates and tranquillisers, and neuralgia. An infusion of the plant has been used to promote suppressed menstruation, it should not be given to pregnant women since it can induce a miscarriage. This plant should be used with some caution since in excess it causes giddiness, stupor, confusion and twitching.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/scullc34.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scutellaria_galericulata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Scutellaria+galericulata

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