Continuing with the series on “Biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest”, here are a couple photographs from southeast Oregon.
While traveling through Oregon, I stepped in to visit a couple BPotD readers near Chiloquin, Oregon who I’d been communicating with via email. Ali and Jim showed me a photograph of Scutellaria nana (I hadn’t heard of the species until then) during an around-the-laptop look at images for a nearby area that they are helping to survey and perhaps protect. A few days later, in a similar environment to where they photographed, I found the species as well. I was waffling on highlighting this species on Botany Photo of the Day, mostly because I suspect I’ll eventually have to deal with spam for psychoactive substances. Google’s search results for Scutellaria nana are roughly split between scientific reference pages and pages / discussions about procuring and using this species as a drug.
Concentrating on the scientific / biology side of things: dwarf skullcap is native to the Great Basin of western North America, where it grows in open and dry areas. The population of plants I observed was similar in density to the one featured in this photograph of Scutellaria nana by Gary Monroe.
According to the Intermountain Flora, there are two varieties of Scutellaria nana — the pale-flowered variety, var. nana, is typically associated with andesitic or basaltic soils (it would be basaltic in the case of these photographs). A second variety, Scutellaria nana var. sapphirina is blue-flowered and occurs in calcareous soils (and is restricted to Nevada and California). However, Dr. Richard Olmstead, who is writing the Flora of North America treatment for Scutellaria, has placed this latter variety into its own species, Scutellaria sapphirina.
Additional photographs of dwarf skullcap are available from CalPhotos: Scutellaria nana.