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Chelone glabra


Plant Type


Hardiness Zone

3 - 9

Flower Color


Bloom Period

August through October

Height at Maturity

3-4 feet

Width at Maturity

1-3 feet

Sun Requirements

Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type

Rich, moist soil, clay, loam, sand

About this species:

The turtlehead flower petals resemble the head of a tortoise.  One legend says that a nymph named Chelone didn't want to go to   Zeus and Hera's wedding and so he cursed her.  He said that since she didn't want to leave her home for the wedding she would always carry her home with her and turned her into a turtle.  She would always carry her home with her.. This plant is not invasive but creates tidy clumps.  Butterfly larvae feed upon the leaves. Bees and hummingbirds are pollinators of the turtlehead.  It is both deer and rabbit resistant.

The turtlehead has very showy flowers which resemble the head of a turtle and striking foliage.  Again, it is tidy clumping as a native plant and can easily be divided.  These divisions should be spring or early summer.  This will also help keep the plant in check with air circulation to prevent powdery mildew and give it time to develop strong roots.

It is happy if its roots are wet and so it works well in a rain garden  It filters toxins and can absorb storm water runoff.


Key to Label Symbols:

Hollow stems, leaves and roots are sources of shelter for wildlife. Insects may make a winter home under dropped leaves. Other animals may make shelters within the roots of the plant.
Food Source
Birds and other wildlife use the seeds, berries and leaves for their food source. Leaves may be used to help build nests for birds
Nectar Source
Bees, butterflies, birds and some insects use nectar for their food. Pollen is also used by some wildlife.
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