Chelone glabra (Turtle’s Head)


USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols.Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 181.

Where Commonly Found:  Swamps, stream banks, lakes, wetlands, moist roadsides, ditches, CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, VT.
How to Identify:
(For unfamiliar words: Wikipedia Glossary of Botanical Terms).
Go Botany Key to Chelone glabra.
Missouri Botanical Garden description of Chelone glabra.  Click on more images.

Flower Color:  White, sometimes pink-tinged on top. 
Flower Type:  Bi-lateral, 1″ long in short spike, with upper lip arching over lower lip (turtle head effect, snapdragon-like, two lipped), tubular, thick and clustered in a terminal spike.
Flower Time:  early July – late August.
Leaf Arrangement Type: Opposite leaves, attractive plant, stiff, erect, clumping with leafy smooth stems, 
Leaf Type:  Narrowly lanceolate
, tapering to sharp tip, finely toothed, 3″-6″ long, coarsely-toothed, dark green.
Height:  3.5 ‘- 4.5’
Seed Collection:  When papery oval or rounded capsule, about 1/2″ long, turns darker brown, near frost-time, collect capsules, air-dry, then separate, store in sealed container in refrigerator.

Attracts:  Bees, Butterflies, Larval Host
Use:  Garden, Rain Garden, Naturalizing
Light:  Part Sun
Hardiness Zone:  3 to 8  USDA Zone Map
Soils:  Moist to Wet
Notes:  Turtle’s Head is a stiff upright native with snapdragon-like flowers with high pollinator value.
Native to the eastern half of the US:  Biota of North America Program (BONAP) – North American Plant Atlas (NAPA).

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: