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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Huáng qin (dried roots)

Latin Name: Scutellaria baicalensis

Plant Family: Lamiaceae

Close Relatives: Mint, basil, oregano, thyme

Uses and Markets: Medicinal (e.g. roots used in treatment of disorders of the respiratory and digestive system); Ornamental

Baikal skullcap. Baikal skullcap has ornamental uses
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Baikal skullcap should not be confused with the separate species Virginian skullcap.

Propagation method

Most commonly by direct seeding, transplants from seeds or by division. Transplanting from plug trays may negatively affect root shape.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

March to April

Field Seeding Date:

April to May

Field Transplanting Dates

Late-May to June

In-row spacing

20-30 cm

Between row spacing

30-50 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. The nitrogen requirements of this crop have not been determined. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils; sandy to clay loam soils. Baikal skullcap will tolerate drier soils than Virginian skullcap.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Freeze tolerant.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

3-4 years

Specialized equipment

Modified potato digger.


Single harvest

Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest 

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand or machine harvest (modified potato digger).

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes
Harvest roots in the fall or spring following 3 or 4 years of growth.

Post harvest

Special handling/curing
Dry roots at 38°C or lower, preferably in forced-air kilns.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH):Store dried product at low humidity to prolong shelf-life.

Temperature (°C): Low temperatures will prolong shelf-life.

Duration: Quality degrades over time but no storage life has been established.

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Leafhoppers

Diseases: Powdery mildew

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Leaf beetles

Diseases: Root rots (e.g. Pythium, Phytophthora), tomato spotted wilt virus, impatiens necrotic spot virus

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions. 


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: none. This crop is not in a crop group. There is no pest control products registered for this crop in Canada. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Powdery mildew on Baikal skullcap
Additional Notes

Research at the University of Guelph has studied the phytochemistry, genomics and antioxidant potential of this crop.

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  2. McKeown, A.W., C.J. Bakker and J. Schooley. 1998-2002. Herb Demonstration Garden, University of Guelph Simcoe Research Station, unpublished.
  3. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  4. Cole, I.B., Cao, J., Alan, A.R.,  Saxena, P.K. and  S.J. Murch. 2008. Comparisons of Scutellaria baicalensis, Scutellaria lateriflora and Scutellaria racemosa: Genome size, antioxidant potential and phytochemistry. Planta Medica 74:474-481.
  1. Bown, D. 1995. The Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Herbs and There Uses. BCA, Toronto.
  2. Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. 2010. Skullcap. Government of Saskatchewan.