Family: Plantaginaceae (Plantain family)
Height: 60-120 cm (2-4 ft)
Chelone glabra L.
Flowers: white or vanilla (sometimes pink tinged) turtlehead shaped flower.
Leaves: are 4-15 times as long as broad oppositely arranged. They can grow up to 15 cm (6 in) long. The leaves have teeth and no hair.
Fruits: an egg shaped capsule holding winged seeds.
Sun: Full sun or part shade.
Ideal Conditions: Thrives in moist to dry soils in shade or partial shade.
INPAWS Native Communities: Woodland (shade); Water's edge (sun).
SOURCES & FURTHER RESOURCES:
Comments: White turtlehead is the only Chelone in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Etymology: Chelone (Χελώνη) - meaning "turtle" in Greek - was a mythological mountain nymph whose mischief or late arrival at Zeus' wedding caused the nymph to be cursed making her carry her house with her wherever she went (a tortoise). Glabra is Latin for "hairless" or "smooth".
all photos by Nathanael Pilla
Landscape: White turtlehead makes a nice addition to your rain garden or larger wet areas. Stays under 3 ft, but in great conditions can reach 4 ft. Host plant for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. This plant is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also an important part of the butterfly's lifecycle.