Swollen Skullcap
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Swollen Skullcap
P Native Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Swollen Skullcap, Barbed Skullcap • Manipuri: ꯌꯦꯅꯥꯈꯠ ꯃꯆꯥ Yenakhat macha • Nepali: बाब्रे घाँस Baabre Ghaas, निलो बुट्टे घाँस Nilo Butte Ghaas
Botanical name: Scutellaria barbata    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Scutellaria adenophylla, Scutellaria cavaleriei , Scutellaria squamulosa

Swollen Skullcap is a slender herb with stems erect, 12-35 cm tall, hairless or sparsely velvet-hairy upward. Flowers are purple blue, 0.9-1.3 cm, velvet-hairy outside, sparsely hairy on throat inside. The tube is swollen sac-like in front at base, about 1.5 mm wide at middle, gradually dilated to 3.5 mm wide at throat; upper lip semicircular, about 1.5 mm; middle lobe of lower lip trapeziform, about 2.5 x 4 mm, margin entire; lateral lobes triangular-ovate, about 1.5 mm wide, tip pointed. Flowers arise in leaf-axils, on flower-stalks 1-2 mm, finely velvet-hairy. Sepal-cup is about 2 mm, margin ciliolate, up to 4.5 mm in fruit; scutellum about 1 mm, to 2 mm in fruit. Flowers are borne in poorly defined racemes at branch-ends; floral leaves similar to stem leaves, up to 8 mm basally, much reduced and elliptic to narrowly elliptic upward. Leaf-stalks are 1-3 mm, concave-convex, leaf blade triangular-ovate to ovate-lanceshaped, 1.3-3.2 x 0.5-1 cm, nearly hairless to sparsely velvet-hairy along veins, base broadly wedge-shaped to nearly flat, margin remotely and bluntly shallow toothed, tip pointed. Swollen Skullcap is found in the Himalaya to Temperate East Asia, at altitudes up to 2000 m. Flowering: March-July.
Medicinal uses: The herb is used to as a medicine to treat cancer. However, there have been multiple reports that patients who were treated with the herb struggled with inflammation and infection.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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