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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - May 02, 2012

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Is Scutellaria suffrutescens native to Texas from San Marcos TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is Scutellaria suffrutescens (Pink skullcap) a Texas native? I have found many conflicting answers and even seen it called Texas skullcap on sites that say it's native to Mexico. We will consider your answer the ultimate truth!! Thanks.

ANSWER:

Nice going! You get the Stump Mr. Smarty Plants question of the week award. Actually, there is no award, but aren't you proud of getting a "gotcha"?

Neither our Native Plant Database nor the USDA Plant Database, which is our "ultimate authority" list this plant, at all. The USDA site lists plants native to the U.S., but has a notation of "I" for Introduced on those not certified as native to the U.S; they don't even have that information for this plant. It just isn't there. We did find the name in High Plains Gardening from Amarillo, TX. On the page on this plant is this statement:

"Suffrutescens means having a base that is somewhat woody and does not die down each year. This describes S. suffrutescens exactly."

There are a number of other plants that have suffrutescens species, but none of the genus Scutellaria. So, on a wild guess, we are thinking that maybe some plant grower or writer picked this name for Pink Texas skullcap, but it hasn't been recognized by the USDA. Or else it has been misspelled, but we tried several other spellings and got no hit.

From Learn 2 Grow, here is an article on Mexican Skullcap, which has this phrase in it:

"Recently introduced from the uplands of Mexico....."

Please don't make us the ultimate authority, that's scary. As far as we can see, it is suited to grow in Hays County, is an attractive plant but not invasive, and if you like it, go with it!

 

 

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