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Published In: Hortus Kewensis 1: 242, pl. 8. 1768. (Hort. Kew.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/25/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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7. Scutellaria ovata Hill (heart-leaved skullcap, egg-leaved skullcap)

Pl. 443 c; Map 1998

Plants with slender rhizomes. Stems (10–)25–80 cm long, erect or ascending, usually unbranched, densely pubescent with spreading, gland-tipped hairs. Leaves with the petioles 8–50 mm long, not winged at the tip. Leaf blades 1.5–7.0 cm long, heart-shaped to ovate, narrowly ovate, or triangular-ovate, broadly rounded to truncate or cordate at the base, bluntly or more commonly sharply pointed at the tip, the margins finely to relatively coarsely toothed, the surfaces densely pubescent with relatively long (and sometimes also shorter), spreading to somewhat curved, multicellular, mostly gland-tipped hairs, the undersurface sometimes also with sessile glands. Inflorescences of slender racemes, these mostly terminal, sometimes in a cluster of 3 from the stem tip, the flowers 2 per node, solitary in the axils of bracts, the bracts 3–9(–12) mm long, ovate to broadly ovate, sometimes finely few-toothed. Calyces 3–4 mm long, becoming closed and enlarged to 4–6 mm at fruiting, the outer surface densely pubescent with spreading, multicellular, mostly gland-tipped hairs. Corollas 17–25 mm long, densely pubescent with short, spreading, gland-tipped-hairs on the outer surface, pale blue to blue or bluish purple above a usually white tube, the lower lip variously white with bluish purple markings or blue to bluish purple with white and purple mottling and/or spots, the tube S-shaped (bent upward just above the calyx and strongly curved or oblique at or above the throat), lacking a ring of hairs in the throat, the lateral lobes not well-developed, ascending, the lower lip broadly fan-shaped, deeply notched at the tip. Nutlets 1–4 per calyx, 1.2–1.5 mm in diameter, depressed globose or broadly obovoid, the surface dark brown, densely warty or with low, rounded tubercles, these reddish brown to orangish brown. 2n=20. May–October.

Scattered nearly throughout the state, but uncommon in the western portion of the Glaciated Plains Division and the Mississippi Lowlands (eastern U.S. west to Minnesota and Texas). Bottomland forests, mesic to dry upland forests, glades, banks of streams and rivers, and bases, ledges, and tops of bluffs; also old fields, railroads, and roadsides.

The infraspecific taxonomy of this species remains controversial. Epling (1942) recognized a confusing series of 12 subspecies differing only slightly morphologically and overlapping extensively geographically. At the other extreme, some botanists (Lane, 1986) have suggested that the species might best be treated as a single polymorphic taxon with no infraspecific entities. In his unpublished doctoral dissertation, Pittman (1988) performed a numerical analysis of morphological variation within S. ovata and concluded that three subspecies were supportable statistically. He further segregated four minor variants as varieties, but these seem scarcely worthy of attention. The subspecies circumscriptions proposed by Pittman are followed in the present work with some reservations, as many intermediate plants exist for each of the characters.



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