Hoary Skullcap – Scutellaria incana

Hoary Skullcap has truly blue snap-dragon type blooms in high density on a many stemmed 2-4ft plant. The plant is beautiful as the petals rain down as It blooms from June to September, and continues to be beautiful as the flowers turn to seeds. It’s the plant’s adaptation that when dry and mature, the small seed heads pop open at the touch of raindrops or passing animals. It blooms most when planted in full to part-sun and in well-drained to dry soil. This plant is no longer found in New York State, having been locally extinct for nearly 80 years according to a personal discussion with a NYS botanist (which is a blink of an eye to plants and insects who have evolved for 480 million years). It was historically documented in the area, and several local native growers have been growing it from seed to try and bring it back to nature by planting it in residential areas. It’s a fantastic landscaping plant and a family favorite.


  • Light: Full to Part Sun
  • Soil: Well-Drained Average to Poor and Dry

Height/Spread: 2-4 feet High and Wide


  • Children are drawn to the snap-dragon type blooms
  • Native Bees crawl inside the blooms to reach the nectar.

Cultural History:

The Cherokee used Hoary Skullcap to ease monthly periods, diarrhea, nerves, breast pain, childbirth, and as kidney medicine.

Conservation Status:

Native to open woods, sandy areas, pinelands, and dry bluffs. Hoary Skullcap is on the New York State Protected and Endangered Plant List as having not been seen wild in NY State for 15 years. It’s subject to deer browsing, but well worth the effort of saving from the brink of extinction.