Flower of the Week: Havana Skullcap

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Amazingly small to offer a gossamer sense of beauty.

I recently acquired, from the Native Plant Society, a rare and endangered specimen of the Lamiaceae,(Mint) family for my plant collection. The specimen is the Havana Skullcap, Scutellaria havanensis. The Havana is rare because it only grows naturally in Miami-Dade County’s Pine Rocklands. It is endangered because, regretfully, the Pine Rocklands are rapidly being turned into a development. The specimen that I have is a juvenile plant barely 12 inch high. .

Havana is a multi-stemmed perennial with paired ovate leaves widely separated on square shaped reddish and hairy stems. Leaves are hairy on both top and bottom with smooth margins and are barely ¼ inch long. When fully mature the leaves will be about ½ inch in length.

The flower’s corolla structure has the typical Mint configuration; two lipped, five lobed. The upper lip has two lobes combined into a hood like appendage. The lower lip has a center dorsal lobe with two winged lateral lobes that curl over the dorsal lobe. The corolla’s color is a dark blue with white stripes on the dorsal lobe. Between the two lips is a lengthy and narrow corolla tunnel. Four male stamens ascend up and under the upper lip. Overall length of the bloom is barely ¼ inch. When mature the flower can be 5/8 inch in length.

The genus Scutellaria has 12 other native species five of which are rare.

I got my specimen from the Native Plant Society. It was grown by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

 

Dorothy Rodwell