Chhhh chhhh Changes in Genera.


Meet Scutellaria mexicana formally Salazaria mexicana. What I am learning more about as I go in depth with botany is the changing of genera based upon genetic lab testing and the art of keying a plant is dwindling as technology advances.


This can be misleading and dangerous to herbalist as many of the interchangeable medicinal plants under a genus will have new additions to their genus based upon genetic testing and many of these plants may be toxic. For example, this plant here commonly known as Paperbag Bush, Mexican Bladdersage and Bladder Sage. I will start with saying that common names are misleading and also dangerous to base a plants medicinal use because of a common name, granted this plant has "SAGE" as part of the common name, we can't base any use off the common name. I am not a fan of common names and have seen many folks new to plant medicine forage plants and discuss uses on their Instagram and other social media pages based off the misleading nature of the common name. Not only do I find it to be unethical and irresponsible to gather plants that one is not 100% sure of it's proper identification, but to take plants to make botanical medicine is in itself dangerous if one does not properly identify the plant and it's uses. I have seen this form of Plant Lust happen so many times on social media which then it gets real scary because these folks are sharing the wrong information that their audience may assume to be true. As my partner said, "COMMON NAMES SUCK".



Back to Scutellaria mexicana, there are no known uses with this plant that I could find. I have searched all of my books, materia medica, reached out to friends, searched online and I can not find any uses with the species. My partner and I were on a mission to learn more about this plant because typically Scutellaria plants are not woody like Scutellaria mexicana. My partner looked in an older Jepson manual and we learned that this changed in genus has been recent. When I stumbled upon this plant in our backyard I was excited to learn that we have a Scutellaria which is is a genus of plants that most folks refer to as Skullcap. There are many medicinal species under the genus Scutellaria, however no known or noted uses of Scutellaria mexicana. To learn more on Skullcap check out the monograph by 7Song.



While my partner and I were discussing this new addition to Scutellaria, he told me about a new addition to the Eriodictyon genus, Eriodictyon parryi formally Turricula parryi, a toxic plant known to cause contact dermatitis and cause respiratory distress. This plant is commonly known as Poodle-Dog Bush, the photos taken of this plant are from the Pacific Crest Trail Association website which their article elaborates more on this plant.



The alarming issue with Turricula parryi being switched to Eriodictyon is that Yerba Santa is a plant within the Eriodictyon genus. For those familiar with Eriodictyon, upon learning of the new addition to the genus someone could assume that E.parryi is interchangeable, one may think it's yet another Yerba Santa. Could you imagine making one ill or oneself because the wrong plant was gathered. We as plant folk need to be aware of these changes and double check what we are looking at especially when there has been changes in the genera.


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