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Also called Downy Skullcap, Hoary Skullcap provides weeks of blooms in mid-late summer. This Scutellaria is one of the showiest in the genus.These flowers do not have a noticible floral scent, but attract many different pollinators. It is mostly pollinated by bumblebees, however. Hoary Skullcap spreads by seeds and by its rhizomatous root system. It can form tightly packed colonies via its rhizomes. Scutellaria Incana are a bush similar to Common Rue, with thin leaves and a small green flower whose fragrance is reputed to cure sufferers of colic colitis colopitis colon cancer and any number of other ailments.
Scutellaria incana (Downy Skullcap) is a bushy rhizomatous perennial boasting open racemes of small, two-lipped, lavender-blue flowers from mid to late summer. The round-top flowers are covered with fine, soft hairs giving rise to its common name, Downy Skullcap. They are borne on erect pubescent square stems clothed in toothed ovate gray-green leaves. Undemanding and easy to grow, Downy Skullcap tolerates heat, drought, shade, poor infertile soils, rocky or gravelly soils. It is pest resistant and unpalatable to deer and rabbits. An excellent choice for the sunny garden.The flowers are pollinated by bumblebees primarily, which suck nectar or collect pollen. Less common visitors are bee flies, skippers, or small butterflies, but these visitors are less likely to cross-pollinate the flowers. Some species of wasps may perforate the base of the flower and steal nectar (specifically, the Eumenid wasp Euodynerus foraminatus has been observed to do this), and Halictid bees sometimes take advantage of these perforations to suck nectar themselves.
Insects that feed destructively on Downy Skullcap and other Skullcaps (Scutellaria spp.) include the flea beetles Phyllobrotica circumdata and Phyllobrotica limbata, the leaf-mining larvae of Caloptilia scutellariella (Skullcap Caloptilia Moth), and the larvae of Prochoreutis inflatella (Skullcap Skeletonizer Moth). Because the foliage is bitter-tasting and possibly toxic, mammalian herbivores usually don't bother this plant to any significant degree.Downy Skullcap has attractive foliage and flowers; it is one of the more showy species in this genus. It is similar to Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop) in the appearance of its foliage and habitat preferences, but its flowers are larger and more attractive. Therefore, it's surprising that this plant is not grown in flower gardens more often. Distinguishing Scutellaria spp. (Skullcaps) is rather tricky, but here are some key characteristics of Downy Skullcap: 1) Except for the lowest leaves, the leaf bases are well-rounded, rather than heart-shaped; 2) this species of Skullcap blooms later and grows taller than most; 3) except for the upper leaf surfaces, the entire plant is finely pubescent, and it has no sticky glandular hairs; and 4) the racemes of its flowers are terminal, rather than axillary. (Source: www.illinoiswildflowers.info)