The photo above shows the flowers and stem leaves of snapdragon skullcap as seen at the Rooster Comb on Steens Mt. in southeastern Oregon.........June 20, 2004.
Skullcaps get their name from a small appendage or flap atop the calyx. Snapdragon skullcap is an attractive perennial arising to heights or lengths of 15-30 cm from rhizomes at or near the surface of the soil. The slender, erect stems may be branched or arise in clusters from the rhizome. The stems are square in cross-section. The herbage is variably haired, ranging from glabrous to short, upward-pointing hairs, or occasionally longer, spreading or even gland-tipped hairs. All the leaves are found on the stems. The leaves are opposite with entire margins. The venation consists of 3-5 nerves or veins arising from the leaf base. Leaf shape is elliptic to ovate, and the leaves range from 1- 2 cm long and 3-10 mm wide. The petioles measure 5-15 mm long.
The flowers are solitary (although they may be oriented so that the flowers arising from opposite axils may appear paired), arising from the axils of the upper, reduced leaves. The corolla is a deep blue-violet. The tubular corolla is straight and ranges from 12-22 mm long, expanding gradually to the widened mouth. The lower lip of the corolla is large, and reflexed downward.. The palate has long white hairs and the throat of the corolla of fresh flowers is nearly closed by the palate.
Similar Species: Narrow-leaf skullcap: Scutellaria angustifolia
Snapdragon skullcap may be found from the lowlands to up to 2400 meters of elevation in the mountains in a variety of open habitats from moist to dry sites, often being found rocky to talus habitats.
Snapdragon skullcap may be found east of the Cascades from central Oregon south to central California and east to central and southern Idaho, and central Nevada, and near the western base of the Wasatch Mts. in Utah.