Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A String of Pearls

I uncovered a broken string of pearls while digging in the garden. Did June Cleaver lose them during a visit to Plano in the '50s?

No, these are the fleshy roots of Heartleaf Skullcap, Scutellaria ovata.

Heartleaf Skullcap is a Texas perennial (and also native to the eastern half of the U.S. according to USDA Plants Database) with heart shaped leaves. The leaves are a little fuzzy which gives them a slightly silver or blue-green appearance. In late spring and early summer, Heartleaf Skullcap is covered in purple flowers.

Most recommend growing Heartleaf Skullcap in part shade to full shade, but I have had seedlings sprout and grow in full sun with no problems. I assume the fleshy roots are good for water conservation as the plant does not seem to require any additional watering in my garden. Heartleaf Skullcap does spread by seed and roots. It is fairly easy to remove unwanted plants if they spread where they are not wanted.

The plants grow a couple of feet high and are not particularly attractive by mid-July. I have read that the plants go dormant in the summer and die to the ground. I have not noticed this with my plants because I normally cut the stems back to tidy the plants and remove the seeds before they fall to the ground.

And now, Glenn Miller's A String of Pearls from 1942.