White Turtlehead

White Turtlehead


White Turtlehead

White Turtlehead is named for its distinctive flowers which are said to resemble a turtle's head. This wetland plant will strongly prefer wet to moist soils in full to mostly sun. The blooms are pollinated mostly by bumblebees, which have the size and strength to pry open the bloom and reach the nectar inside. White Turtlehead is a preferred host plant for the beautiful Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. Yours truly was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and started my first company, White Turtlehead, 3 years ago which was the beginning of my content marketing journey. Today, I'm a publisher and blogger with an active social media presence. I regularly publish original content, including product reviews, roundups, and how-to's.


Blooming for 3-4 weeks, the hooded flowers are shaped like turtle heads just emerging from the shell, hence the common name. Attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, they rise above a bushy mound of dark green foliage that remains handsome all season long. The coarsely-toothed, lance-shaped leaves, 8 in. long (20 cm), are arranged in pairs along the stems. A very pretty Chelone species.The unusual flowers make this an easy plant to ID. Many references state that White Turtlehead only grows up to about 3 feet tall, but several plants at Battle Creek are easily 4 feet. The DNR also lists a pink-flowered species (C. obliqua) as native to Minnesota. Minnesota is on the far western edge of White Turtlehead's range. Like a number of other species formerly in the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family, Chelone has been reassigned to Plantaginaceae (Plantain).

The plant blooms in late summer to early fall for several weeks, and attracts bumblebees and hummingbirds. The flowers are bilaterally symmetrical (they can be split into two identical halves) and are made up of five petals. The upper lip, made up of two fused petals, curves down to resemble a turtle’s beak. The remaining three petals are fused to form the lower lip, which has a white or yellow “beard.” Inside are five fuzzy stamens (which make pollen) and a pistil (which transfers pollen to the ovary and creates ovules that are fertilized to make seeds.) Turtlehead’s flowers grow in spikes, with flowers clustered tightly together and blooming from the bottom of the spike upward. The flowers are perfect (meaning that each individual flower contains all of the components necessary for reproduction.) (Source:www.gcc.mass.edu)



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