The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
The conservation of Scutellaria montana is fully sponsored.
Linda G. Chafin contributed to this Plant Profile.
Large-flowered skullcap is a perennial herb with erect, 4-sided stems, 1 - 2 feet tall, covered with soft, gland-tipped hairs. Its leaves are 2 - 4 inches long, opposite, with rounded or truncate bases, pointed tips, toothed margins, and leaf stalks; the leaves are hairy on both surfaces. Flower clusters have 2 - 20 paired flower stalks and are held at the top of the stem, or in smaller clusters arising from the junction of leaf and stem. The flowers are 1 inch or longer (flower size is important to identification), with a white, erect tube; a hood-like, pale blue upper lip; and a spreading, pale blue lower lip with 2 white streaks bordered by dark blue lines and splotches. A small green cup (calyx) with a bump (the scutellum) on the upper side surrounds the base of the flower. Plants flower mid-Mayearly June and only when they are several years old. Fruits mature in late JuneJuly and consist of 4 nutlets contained within the calyx which springs open and expels the nutlets when ripe. Large-flowered skullcap resembles false-teeth skullcap (Scutellaria pseudoserrata) which also has large flowers but false-teeth skullcap leaves are covered on the upper surface with shining glandular dots and have hairs only on the veins on the lower surface.
Distribution & Occurrence
Moist to somewhat dry hardwood and hardwood-pine forests in ravines and stream bottoms; rocky, well drained, slightly acidic slopes with mature oak pine forests with a sparse understory of scattered shrubs.
|In Tennessee, there are 190 occurrences mapped by the Tennessee Natural Heritage Program, with 127 occurrences protected to some degree: 2 occurrences are on U.S. Department of Defense land, 5 occurrences are covered by a conservation easement with a private landowner, 14 occurrences are on National Park Service land at Lookout Mountain; 34 occurrences are on Tennessee Valley Authority land, and 72 are on state-owned lands. In Georgia, there are approximately 53 occurrences, with 1,500 - 2,000 plants protected at Marshall Forest, a Nature Conservancy preserve, and 1,000 - 1,500 plants at Blacks Bluff Preserve, both of which are Nature Conservancy preserves.|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and wasps have all been observed visiting the flowers of large-flowered skullcap (Shea and Hogan 1998, Kemp and Knauss 1990, Cruzan 2001). The flowers have long tubes and produce nectar with a sucrose-hexose ratio near 50%, indicating that this species evolved in the presence of pollinators such as moths or long-tongued bees (Cruzan 2001). However, these pollinators were absent during the research conducted by Cruzan, who observed only types of bee that did not effect cross-pollination. As a result, flowers in these studied populations are either not pollinated, resulting in no seed production, or self-pollinated with the possible long-term effects of inbreeding depression. Cruzan's work suggests that associated pollinators are lost or missing, which leads to the apparent inbreeding noted at smaller and more isolated populations of Scutellaria montana (Federal Register 2002).
Studies conducted during the 1980s at Marshall Forest, Floyd County, Georgia found that large-flowered skullcap has a low rate of reproduction: 40 - 90% of flowers failed to form fruits and most of the fruits that did mature had 2 seeds rather than the typical 4 found in most skullcap fruits (Kemp 1987, Kemp and Knauss 1990). In other Scutellaria species,75-93% of flowers produce fruits (Collins 1976).
Large-flowered skullcap is not a vigorous competitor and is not found in areas with a dense herbaceous layer (Federal Register 2002). It is quickly overcome by exotic pest plants, such as Japanese honeysuckle, that invade following disturbance (Patrick et al. 1995).
cattle grazing and trampling
clearing for residential and commercial development
overbrowsing by deer
exotic pest plants such as Japanese honeysuckle
Horn, D.; Cathcart, T.; Hemmerly, T.E.; Duhl, D. 2005. Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and the southern Appalachians. Auburn, Washington. Lone Pine Publishing. 496p.
Kral, R. 1983. A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the South, Forest Service Technical Publication R8-TP2. Atlanta. United States Forest Service. 1305p.