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11. Scutellaria Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 598. 1753.

黄芩属 huang qin shu

Scutellaria hypericifolia

Credit: Harvard University Herbaria

Herbs or subshrubs, rarely shrubs, not aromatic. Leaves entire to pinnatifid. Inflorescences terminal or axillary racemes or spikes; floral leaves usually bractlike apically. Flowers axillary, opposite or sometimes alternate apically. Calyx short tubular, dorsiventrally flattened, 2-lipped; lips entire, closed and ultimately divided to base along sutures in fruit; upper lip deciduous, with a transverse, rounded, concave, scalelike scutellum (shield) or without and abaxially conspicuously saccate; lower lip persistent. Corolla 2-lipped; tube exserted, arcuate or suberect, gradually widening to throat, base bent and saccate or spurred, usually puberulent annulate outside; upper lip erect, galeate; lower lip 3-lobed, middle lobe broad, flattened, entire, lateral lobes ± joined to upper lip and sometimes spreading. Stamens 4, didynamous, anterior 2 longest, underlying upper lip; anthers close together in pairs, bearded on cell aperture; posterior pair conspicuously 2-celled, ± apically acute, anterior pair 1-celled by abortion. Style subulate, apically unequally 2-cleft. Nutlets oblate, globose, to ovoid.

About 350 species: worldwide, but only a few in tropical Africa; 98 species in China.

A very isolated genus with unsatisfactory traditional divisions. Paton (Kew Bull. 45: 399-450. 1990) has proposed a revised classification of Scutellaria but did not deal with a large number of the Chinese taxa, and it is not possible to utilize his divisions in detail.


1 Inflorescences crowded 4-sided spikes; flowers opposite and decussate, subtended by specialized, membranous or submembranous, sessile, hoodlike bracts    
+ Inflorescences 1-sided or rarely partly spiral, often poorly defined; flowers subtended by leaves or leaflike bracts.   (2)
2 (1) Upper lip of calyx convex, lacking a scutellum; nutlets gray-black, with hairs longer than 0.5 mm   98 Scutellaria kingiana
+ Upper lip of calyx with a sail-like scutellum; nutlets of various colors, glabrous or with hairs shorter than 0.5 mm.   (3)
3 (2) Apical flowers often ± spiral; nutlets with acuminate papillae terminating in a ring of hooks; inflorescences terminal, often ± scapose; bracts minute, herbaceous   1 Scutellaria discolor
+ Flowers erect, opposite; nutlets variously ornamented, mostly lacking hooked papillae; inflorescences robust and/or lateral, never scapose; bracts leaflike.   (4)
4 (3) Flowers in terminal racemes or spikes ± sharply differentiated from the vegetative part of the stem, mostly subtended by reduced bractlike leaves.   (5)
+ Flowers in axillary racemes or, if terminal, most flowers subtended by normal leaves and with a gradual transition from these to bracts.   (6)
5 (4) Stem leaves conspicuously petiolate, almost 2 × as long as wide, mostly obscurely dentate or rarely entire; bracts entire, short petiolate, unlike stem leaves; plants subshrubs or erect or rarely ascending herbs lacking enlarged rhizomes   Key 1 (see List of Keys below)
+ Stem leaves subsessile or short petiolate, more than 2 × as long as wide, dentate-serrate, crenate, to entire; bracts ± similar to stem leaves, gradually reduced toward stem apex; plants erect or ascending-erect perennial herbs with an enlarged and often woody rootstock/rhizome   Key 4 (see List of Keys below)
6 (4) Flowers mainly in axillary racemes or on lateral branches; plants much branched herbs   Key 5 (see List of Keys below)
+ Flowers axillary, secund, mostly on main axis; plants perennial, mostly erect herbs.   (7)
7 (6) Nutlets inconspicuously differentiated into adaxial and abaxial sides, tuberculate   Key 6 (see List of Keys below)
+ Nutlets conspicuously differentiated into adaxial and abaxial sides, abaxially tuberculate, adaxially spiny or smooth, with or without a membranous wing on equatorial plane.   (8)
8 (7) Nutlets tuberculate abaxially, adaxially smooth and conical, with an apical umbo; rhizomes with long leafless stolons at nodes; stems densely spreading pilose   96 Scutellaria tuberifera
+ Nutlets densely tuberculate abaxially, adaxially densely spiny around a cylindric central umbo; rhizomes without stolons; stems glabrous to sparsely pilose apically   97 Scutellaria guilielmii

List of Keys

  • List of lower taxa


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