What do you get when two New York native plants cross? You get one cool plant. The plant I’m talking about Scuttellaria ‘Appalachian Blues’.
I’ve been using Scuttellaria ‘Appalachian Blues’ for two seasons now. I’m not sure what draws me to this plant. Maybe it’s just because it’s another plant for the shade garden. Actually, it grows in full sun to shade. Maybe it’s because the plant seems relatively easy to grow. Maybe, it is its short stature. Whatever the draw happens to be, it’s a plant we will be using more of in the future. Some descriptions say Appalachian Blues might need moisture in full sun. This has not been my experience. It seems to be quite drought resistant. This cultivar is much shorter than its parents. Online descriptions list its height at 24”. This, also, has not been my experience. In the gardens we’ve had it planted in, it hasn’t topped much more than 12″, flowers to maybe 15” if I had to guess. Unlike its parents, it is a well behaved clumper.
Scuttellaria ‘Appalachian Blues’ isn’t super showy, but it seems to be pretty ironclad. It produces Salvia like blue flowers in late spring through early summer. It flowers for weeks on end with deadheading. The foliage adds interest too with its dark margins around its serrated leaves.
Scuttellaria ‘Appalachian Blues’ is a naturally occurring hybrid between Scuttellaria ovata and Scuttellaria serrata. The parent plants aren’t technically Connecticut natives but they are regionally native, found right up to our border shared with New York. As a side note, I’ve always thought it’s silly that we use state borders to determine whether a plant is native to a state or not. Look at the native range of one of the parents, Scuttellaria ovata. It is definitely well behaved, knowing it shouldn’t pass a state border without permission and a new country without a passport. Appalachian Blues other parent, Scuttellaria serrata, has a similar native range.
No matter the plant, how are state lines the way we determine if a plant is native to a state or not? Seems ridiculous to me. In my opinion, shouldn’t we be looking at our native plants more regionally rather than by state borders? Just a thought.