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Turtlehead plant

Turtlehead plant

Turtlehead plant

The most amazing and happiest plant on Earth is the turtlehead plant. It is not any type of flower, but it looks exactly like one. This plant’s true name is the night-flowering cereus, as it flowers only at night. When it blooms, it emits a sweet smell that attracts not just bees and moths, but also the attention of bats that hunt at night, in addition to other flying insects.Turtlehead is also known as balmony, bitter herb, codhead, fish mouth, shellflower, snakehead, snake mouth, and turtle bloom. It is part of the Figwort family (Scrophulariacea) and has the scientific name Chelone glabra. In Greek mythology, there was a nymph named Chelone who insulted the gods; in punishment, she was turned into a turtle. The flowers of this plant are said to look like the heads of turtles. Glabra is from the Latin word meaning smooth because of the lack of hairs or texture on the stems and leaves.

Turtlehead

Turtlehead is a perennial found throughout most of the eastern half of the United States. It generally is found along stream banks and damp ground, and usually grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet. The plant has a square stem with leaves that are opposite, toothed, and narrow. White flowers, often with a pink tinge, appear between mid summer and fall. The flowers are irregular, two-lipped and grow in dense spikes. Turtlehead is a clump-forming perennial plant that blooms in fall with hooded flowers that look similar to snapdragon blooms. The flower gets its unique name from its resemblance to a turtle's beak, but the genius name dates back to ancient Greece mythology and the nymph named Chelone. As the story goes, Chelone elected not to attend the marriage of Zeus and Hera, so she and her house were tossed into a river, where she transformed into a tortoise who carried her house on her back.

As a woodland flower, turtlehead does best in partial shade—the setting is most similar to its natural environment, where it typically grows in the filtered light beneath a canopy of trees. However, the plant can grow in full sun as well, as long as its soil is kept continually moist.Pink turtlehead is considered the most tolerant varietal of bright sun.Once your turtlehead plant has established itself, pinch the tips of each shoot to train the plant to grow bushy and produce showy blooms. If your plants start to get floppy, prune or pinch back the stems of established plants in mid-spring—this will cause the plant to become more compact, but fuller and showier. Since turtlehead blooms late in the season, there is no reason to deadhead spent flowers. You can leave the flowers to dry, and then collect the seeds if you like. (Source:www.thespruce.com)

 

 

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