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Chelone glabra, commonly known as white turtlehead, is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to eastern North America. It is a member of the plantain family (Plantaginaceae) and is so named for the shape of its flowers, which resemble the head of a turtle.
White turtlehead grows up to 3 feet tall and has attractive, glossy, dark green, lance-shaped leaves that are arranged in pairs opposite each other on the stem. The flowers are borne on sturdy, upright stems that rise above the foliage in late summer and early fall. The flowers are white or pinkish-white and are tube-shaped, with two lips that resemble the head of a turtle. The flowers are long-lasting and provide a source of late-season nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Chelone glabra prefers moist, fertile soil and partial shade, but can also tolerate full sun in cooler climates. It is an excellent choice for a woodland garden or a moist, shady area of the garden where other plants may struggle. It is also deer-resistant and is not often bothered by pests or diseases.
This plant is easy to care for and requires little maintenance once established. It can be propagated by division in early spring or fall, and any dead or damaged foliage should be removed as needed. In addition to its ornamental value, Chelone glabra is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive disorders and respiratory infections.
In summary, Chelone glabra is a lovely native perennial that provides a late-season source of nectar for pollinators. Its attractive foliage and unique turtlehead flowers make it an excellent choice for a woodland garden or a moist, shady area of the garden. Its tolerance for shade and moist soil makes it a great choice for a variety of garden settings, and its easy care requirements make it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.
Bloom Time August-September