Scutellaria lateriflora (flower)

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AHPA recognizes other valuable resources exist regarding the identity of Scutellaria lateriflora.

To submit a suggestion or contribution, please contact Merle Zimmermann.



Scutellaria lateriflora L.   Lamiaceae  
Standardized common name (English): skullcap

Botanical Voucher Specimen

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Scutellaria lateriflora Tropicos 100007266.jpg
Source: MOBOT,[1]

Scutellaria lateriflora LE31406JD A0272.jpg
Source: Botanical Voucher Specimen Library, Alkemists Laboratories[2]

Organoleptic Characteristics

Odor slight; taste slightly bitter.

Source: United States Dispensatory (1918) [3]

Macroscopic Characteristics

This plant is smooth or with very fine hair on the upper parts with slender, erect or declining, widely branched stems from one-third to 2 1/2 feet high. The thin, slender-stemmed leaves are somewhat lance-shaped or egg-shaped, 1 to 3 inches long, and coarsely toothed. The blue and whitish, tube shaped flowers appear from July to September.

Source: American Medicinal Plants of Commercial Importance (1930) [4]

Scutellaria lateriflora is an indigenous, perennial herb, with a stem erect, much branched, quadrangular, smooth, and one or two feet high. The leaves are ovate, acute, dentate, subcordate upon the stem, opposite, and supported upon long petioles. The flowers are small, of a pale blue color, and disposed in long, lateral, 1-sided, leafy racemes.

Dried tops are ... about 50 cm. in length, smooth; stem quadrangular, branched; leaves opposite, petiolate, about 5 cm. in length, ovate-lanceolate or ovate-oblong, serrate; flowers about 6 mm. in length, in axillary one-sided racemes, with a pale blue corolla and bilabiate calyx, closed in fruit, the upper lip helmet-shaped.

Source: United States Dispensatory (1918) [5]

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PlantaPhile - 570.jpg
Source: PlantaPhile[6]

PlantaPhile - 3067.jpg
Source: PlantaPhile[7]

Microscopic Characteristics

High Performance Thin Layer Chromatographic Identification

Supplementary Information

ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program Laboratory Guidance


Skullcap (herb) (Scutellaria lateriflora) 

General Characteristics This ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program Laboratory Guidance Document presents an overview and comparison of various analytical technologies and methods used to differentiate between authentic skullcap ingredients and non-authentic materials, with particular discussion of Scutellaria and/or germander Teucrium substitutions. Differences in flavonoid compositions are reviewed, and a variety of methods for authentication considered (including sample characterization via HPTLC, HPLC, UPLC, MS fingerprinting, NMR, and Near-IR hyperspectral imaging).

Source: ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program [8]

AHPA Known Adulterants List

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Skullcap (flowering parts) (Scutellaria lateriflora) 

General Characteristics AHPA recommends in its Known Adulterants list that appropriate steps be taken to assure that this raw material is free of the noted adulterant. Contact AHPA for additional information regarding relevant analytical methods or follow this link for more information. 

Reported Adulterants Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys) flowering parts.

Source: AHPA Known Adulterants [9]


  1. MOBOT,
  2. Botanical Voucher Specimen Library, Alkemists Laboratories
  3. United States Dispensatory (1918)
  4. American Medicinal Plants of Commercial Importance (1930)
  5. United States Dispensatory (1918)
  6. PlantaPhile
  7. PlantaPhile
  8. ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program
  9. AHPA Known Adulterants
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