Scutellaria alpina
Common Name: Alpine skullcap 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: South-central and southern Europe
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Violet to purplish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy


Easily grown in poor to moderately fertile, neutral to alkaline, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Add limestone to acidic soils. Stems may become leggy in hot and humid summer climates if not cut back in mid-spring and/or after flowering. Plants typically appreciate some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Scutellaria alpine, commonly known as alpine skullcap, is a rhizomatous, semi-prostrate, multi-stemmed herbaceous perennial in the mint family that typically grows to 6” tall, but slowly spreads to 12” wide. It is native to rocky-limey alpine areas (4,500’ to 8,200’ in elevation) from southern Europe to Siberia. Each plant features square, branched, woody-based stems clad with small, opposite, ovate leaves (3/4” to 1 1/2” long) with crenate-serrate marginal teeth. Summer-blooming, snapdragon-like, 2-lipped, violet to purplish-white flowers (to 1” long) are crowded into short but dense terminal racemes (each to 3” long).

Genus name comes from the Latin word scutella meaning a small dish or saucer in reference to the shape of the persistent calyx after the flowers fade.

Specific epithet means of alpine areas.

Common name of skullcap is in reference to the cap-like shape of the flowers and seed capsules which purportedly resemble the military helmets worn by men in the Middle Ages.


No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew and leaf spot may occur. Watch for aphids.


Good rock garden plant.