General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 1.5 to 5 feet, usually 2 to 4 feet
Plant Spread: about 2 feet wide
Leaves: Other: 3 to 6" long, opposite, lanceolate, and toothed
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Lavender
White
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Uses: Cut Flower
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Propagation: Seeds: Needs specific temperature
Days to germinate: 14 to 30
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Pollinators: Moths and Butterflies
Bumblebees
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Monoecious

Image
Common names
  • Turtlehead
  • White Turtlehead
  • Turtle Bloom
  • Fishmouth
  • Shell Flower
  • Snake-Head
  • Balmony
  • Bitter Herb
  • Snake Mouth

Photo Gallery
Location: Brownstown PA 17508
Date: 2018-08-15
#Pollination
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2019-08-26
Location: West border
Date: August 2015

Credit: Jim Kingdom
Location: AuSable River, Oscoda, MI
Date: 2013-09-04
Location: West border
Date: August
Location: West garden
Date: August
Location: AuSable River, Oscoda, MI
Date: 2013-09-04
Location: AuSable River, Oscoda, MI
Date: 2013-09-04
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2016-10-04
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2011-09-19
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2011-09-19
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2017-10-26
Location: Red River Gorge, Kentucky
Photo: Mason Brock

Date: 2004-09-15
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/

Date: 2004-09-15
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/

Date: 2004-09-15
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/
Location: AuSable River, Oscoda, MI
Date: 2013-09-04
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2016-10-07
Location: Vienna, VA
Date: 2017-10-09
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2015-09-25
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2014-09-15
Location: Canada
Location: Canada

Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
  • Uploaded by vic

photo by H. Zell
Location: Vienna, VA
Date: 2017-10-12
Location: Brownstown Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-08-24
Bumblebees must practice the ability to enter a turtlehead flower
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2015-10-22

Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
  • Uploaded by Joy

Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
  • Uploaded by Joy

Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: IL
Date: 2012-08-29
Location: IL
Date: 2012-08-29

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 2012-08-04

Photo courtesy of Select Seeds
Location: Crows Nest Preserve in southeast Pennsylvania
Date: 2020-09-18
several plants in the wild near a creek
Location: Crows Nest Preserve in southeast Pennsylvania
Date: 2020-09-18
several plants in the wild near a creek
Location: central Illinois
Date: 8-31-07
Location: Crows Nest Preserve in southeast Pennsylvania
Date: 2020-09-18
flower cluster
Location: Tyler Arboretum in southeast PA
Date: 2015-08-27
a plant in shade
Location: Tyler Arboretum in southeast PA
Date: 2011-08-24
a planted mass
Location: Tyler Arboretum in southeast PA
Date: 2011-08-24
leaves and flowers
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2015-09-25

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: Skaneateles Conservation Area
photo credit: R. A. Nonenmacher

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Credit: User:SB_Johnny
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2013-9-15
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2013-08-30
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2016-10-05
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2015-04-12

Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
  • Uploaded by vic
This plant is tagged in:
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Comments:
  • Posted by mellielong (Lutz, Florida - Zone 9b) on Apr 17, 2015 10:41 PM concerning plant:
    The book "How to Know the Wildflowers" (1922) by Mrs William Starr Dana has the author appreciating this plant for always being where it is supposed to be. She remarks at finding flowers that are supposed to be in wet places being found in dry sites and vice versa. But not the Turtlehead. She states that she does not ever remember seeing a Turtlehead "which had not gotten as close to a stream or marsh or a moist ditch as it well could without actually wetting its feet." She considers the flowers more striking than pretty and calls their common name "fairly appropriate". She also tells of hearing "unbotanical people" calling them "white closed gentians."
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Sep 19, 2020 11:14 AM concerning plant:
    Turtleheads are members of the Figwort Family (Scrophulariaceae) which includes Snapdragons that look similar. This perennial White Turtlehead is native to the Midwestern & Eastern US and southeast Canada in moist to wet soils in full sun to part-shade. It prefers a rich, organic soil as best. It does not do well with drought. It has fibrous roots. One can pinch or prune the plant down in May-June to keep it more compact. The Morton Arboretum recommends not cutting it down to the ground in fall. It is pollinated the most by Bumblebees, but some butterflies can also do it. The Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly likes to lay its eggs on the plant to bring forth caterpillars, which are the best food source for baby songbirds. It is supposed to be deer resistant, but one person here says it can be eaten by them. I have never seen this species sold by conventional nurseries or garden centers, which do sell cultivars of the Pink Turtlehead species that is native to the South US. It can be bought at some native plant nurseries as Prairie Nursery in WI and North Creek in PA and at some online mail order companies. It is a lovely perennial that should be used more.
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 17, 2012 1:52 PM concerning plant:
    Flowering in late summer and early fall, this plant has white snapdragon-like flowers on 2 to 4 foot tall stems. It occurs in moist, partly shaded places throughout the eastern US. In the garden, plant it in full sun to light shade in moist soil. An early summer pinching will keep it shorter and fuller.
  • Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Dec 9, 2011 3:00 PM concerning plant:
    The 2 lipped flowers resemble turtle heads. Distinctive flower shape reflected in genus name, a derivation of the greek chelone which means a tortoise.
    A midwestern wildflower that lives in wet thickets, along streambanks and low ground.
  • Posted by Catmint20906 (PNW WA half hour south of Olympia - Zone 8a) on Aug 23, 2014 1:28 PM concerning plant:
    Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) is a larval host plant for the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly. The white blooms attract butterflies, as well as worker bumble bees and long-horned bees. Turtlehead may also attract hummingbirds.

    Native to eastern North America, Turtlehead grows best in moist, rich soils in part shade. Deer consider Turtlehead to be quite tasty.
Plant Events from our members
jmorth On August 25, 2014 Bloomed
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