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Scutellaria baicalensis

Scutellaria baicalensis
Scutellaria baicalensis

These photographs were originally slated to appear in August when the images were made, but after attempting to verify the identification of the plants, I discovered they weren't the species suggested by the label. The labeling error has since been corrected and I've updated the names on the previous photographs I've taken.

Scutellaria baicalensis is known as Baikal skullcap or Chinese skullcap, reflecting on its east Asian native range: Korea, China, Mongolia, Sibera, and the far east of Russia. It is one of the fifty fundamental herbs of Chinese herbology, a fact also noted by the Plants for a Future database. The New York University Medical Center reports on the current state of Baikal skullcap flavonoid extracts in Western medicine: “Highly preliminary evidence suggest that baicalin can enhance the activity of antibiotics against antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. Other highly preliminary evidence suggests that baicalin, wogonin, and baicalein may have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, liver-protective, anti-anxiety, and antihypertensive effects. However, for none of these uses does the evidence approach the level necessary to truly establish a treatment as effective”.

Due to the potential medicinal uses, discussion papers have been made about the possibility of this and other members of the genus Scutellaria becoming a medicinal crop. A similar evaluation of the use of skullcap has been published by the Saskatchewan Crop Development Branch.

Whatever the medicinal uses and crop potentials, I find myself enjoying it for its ornamental virtues: long-lasting purple flowers on up-curved stems with bright-green foliage. It grows in a tidy clump in the Alpine Garden, flowering late in the summer.

9 Comments

Carol commented:

I have been enjoying this site for a while and have a clump of this skullcap growing in my rock garden. It does not seem to produce much seed, or propagate itself in my Zone 4 climate, but flowers most of the summer. It is a beauty!

Beverley commented:

Scutellaria baicalensis - Z5 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
Scutellaria baicalensis - Z5-8 - A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk
Scutellaria sku-te-lah-ree-a From L. scutella [a small dish] referring to the appearance of the calyx in fruit. baicalensis bie-ka-len-sis. Of Lake Baikal, E. Siberia. Dictionary of Plant Names, Coombes

Yes, this is one of the antimicrobial "three yellows", named for the color of the roots, which are used in Chinese medicine to reduce fever and inflammation. It is also a very important anti-infection herb used by western herbalists, given its ability to grow readily in gardens here. Plus it looks a lot better than a prescription bottle.

elizabeth a airhart commented:



i give myself and i permission just to enjoy
a pretty plant and the flowers its a gift
we can give ourselves just to enjoy--thank you

Margaret-Rae Davis commented:

The Photographs are so nice and colourful. I have seen these flowers in friends gardens.
Thank you,
Margaret-Rae

romil commented:

see your plant difficult to get in india comes from chins and russia

Ocoee Miller commented:

I find this plant difficult to get established from seed. But once started it slowly spread to a sturdy clump and the flowers are spectacular! I seldom harvest it for medicine (preferring to purchse the dried roots pieces) because I don't want to disturb my stand of it. It is just too lovely to disturb.

Maria de Lourdes Lamas commented:

Por favor, como adquirir sementes desta planta, scutelaria, preciso dela para fitoterápicos.
\Obrigada

Daniel Mosquin commented:

Maria, those should be available online somewhere, as it is not a rare plant in cultivation due to research into its medicinal uses.

Comments are closed.

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