Hyssop Skullcap

Scutellaria integrifolia L.

Scutellaria integrifolia
John Wesley

Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
State Protection
Listed as Endangered by New York State: in imminent danger of extirpation in New York. For animals, taking, importation, transportation, or possession is prohibited, except under license or permit. For plants, removal or damage without the consent of the landowner is prohibited.
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Critically Imperiled in New York - Especially vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to extreme rarity or other factors; typically 5 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, very few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or very steep declines.
Global Conservation Status Rank
Secure globally - Common in the world; widespread and abundant (but may be rare in some parts of its range).


Did you know?

All of our existing populations were discovered in the 1990s while none of the 13 historical records have been rediscovered. The genus name is from the Latin, scutella, which means dish and refers to the appendage at the base of the flower while the species name means leaves without teeth (Fernald, 1970).

State Ranking Justification

There are four existing populations but all of them consist of fewer than 100 plants each. There are 13 historical records but most of them have been searched or are located in areas that are highly developed and are considered extirpated.

Short-term Trends

The existing populations have not been resurveyed so short-term trends remain unknown. Some populations are small and unprotected so they may not persist.

Long-term Trends

Most of the historical records are extirpated or have little chance of being rediscovered and only four small populations remain in the state. If surveys fail to locate new populations this negative trend could continue.

Conservation and Management


Succession of open grassland and meadow habitat to woody plants is a threat. More study is needed to determine if deer browse threatens populations.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

Open areas need to be maintained without directly damaging plants. This can be done at the appropriate time of year after seed has been disbursed.

Research Needs

Study the habitat preference of this species to determine why it is not more widespread in seemingly common habitat.



More information on the habitat preferences of Hyssop-skullcap in New York State is needed. It has been collected from old fields and grassy openings within upland forests, roadsides, shrub swamps, and the shorelines of artificial ponds. Many of the historical records are from Long Island and Staten Island, where presumably it occupied quite different habitats from the extant sites in the Hudson Valley (New York Natural Heritage Program 2007). Borders of woods, thickets and clearings (Fernald 1970). Fields and open woods, especially on the coastal plain (Gleason & Cronquist 1991).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • High salt marsh* (guide)
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide up to the limit of spring tides. It is periodically flooded by spring tides and flood tides. High salt marshes typically consist of a mosaic of patches that are mostly dominated by a single graminoid species.
  • Sedge meadow* (guide)
    A wet meadow community that has organic soils (muck or fibrous peat). Soils are permanently saturated and seasonally flooded. The dominant herbs must be members of the sedge family, typically of the genus Carex.
  • Successional old field
    A meadow dominated by forbs and grasses that occurs on sites that have been cleared and plowed (for farming or development), and then abandoned or only occasionally mowed.

* probable association but not confirmed.

Associated Species

  • Erigeron strigosus (small daisy fleabane)
  • Ilex verticillata (common winterberry)
  • Prunella vulgaris
  • Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
  • Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (calico-aster)


New York State Distribution

Historically this species was known from Long Island, Staten Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley as far north as Orange County. Today, the only extant records are from Orange, Rockland and Ulster counties.

Global Distribution

New York is at the northern edge of the range of this species, which is considered extirpated in Massachusetts and endangered in Connecticut. Its range extends south along the coast to Florida and west to Texas and Oklahoma, and up the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys to Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Identification Comments

General Description

Hyssop-skullcap is a showy perennial wildflower with the square stem and 2-lipped flowers typical of the mint family. The stems are densely hairy and 3-7 dm tall, erect, and with branches from the leaf axils. The bottom leaves are egg-shaped, crenate, and on petioles, differing from the middle ones which are lance-shaped, sessile or nearly so, and 2-6 cm long. The upper leaves become progressively narrower than the ones below. The flowers are arranged in an ascending, terminal raceme. They have blue (sometimes pink) petals 18-28 mm long, with the middle of the upper lip curved into a helmet-shaped bump.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

This plant is best identified when flowering or fruiting.

Similar Species

The shield-shaped protuberance, or bump, at the base of the calyx identify this plant as a Scutellaria. Among New York skullcap species, the combination of having entire middle and upper leaves and flowers arranged in a terminal raceme should be distinctive.

Best Time to See

This species flowers in June, and the fruits are present from July through September.

  • Flowering
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Hyssop Skullcap flowering and fruiting in New York.

Hyssop Skullcap Images


Hyssop Skullcap
Scutellaria integrifolia L.

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
        • Order Lamiales
          • Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Additional Resources

Best Identification Reference

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Other References

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Newcomb, Lawrence. 1977. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: An Ingenious New Key System for Quick, Positive Field Identification of the Wildflowers, Flowering Shrubs, and Vines of Northeastern and North-Central North America. Little, Brown and Company. Boston.

Rhoads, Ann F. and Timothy A. Block. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania, an Illustrated Manual. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA.

Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, Albany, New York

Weldy, Troy W. and David Werier. 2005. New York Flora Atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research. University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, NY. Available on the web at (http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/).


About This Guide

Information for this guide was last updated on: December 29, 2008

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. Online Conservation Guide for Scutellaria integrifolia. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/hyssop-skullcap/. Accessed June 21, 2024.