Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: White Turtlehead, Balmony, Snake-head, Turtle Bloom, Fishmouth, Shell Flower, Bitter Herb
Chelone glabra

Family: Scrophulariaceae (skrof-yoo-larr-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Chelone (kay-LOH-nee) (Info)
Species: glabra (GLAY-bruh) (Info)

11 vendors have this plant for sale.

23 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 13 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Gabrielle On Feb 27, 2012, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Neat little white flowers that bloom September - October in my garden.

Positive fairygothmom On Apr 11, 2011, fairygothmom from Glen Cove, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Bought this on a whim not knowing what it was other than pretty and shade-loving. Years later, it still pops up under my pine tree and gives a gorgeous display in bright pink at a time when the rest of my yard is fighting the effects of summer.

Positive Marketfresh On Nov 8, 2007, Marketfresh from Jefferson, MD wrote:

This perennial is also the sole food source of the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly and is, therefore, an important and functional planting in the Chesepeake Bay and Potomac River watershed.

Neutral shazbot3 On Sep 19, 2004, shazbot3 from Flat Rock, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

My Chelone is pale pink. I just found it wild, and brought one home to see if I can get it to grow for me. Wish me luck! It's a gorgeous little plant.

Edited to add: I've researched this plant a little bit today on the internet. I've found out it is endangered in some states-I did not know that when I brought it home.

Also, all parts of the plant have been used in traditional medicines as tinctures, creams, teas, and balms for various maladies such as liver disorders, stomach ailments, etc.

It apparently does set seed at some point, but I haven't found info on that yet.

Positive Karenn On Jul 10, 2003, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have Chelone glabra growing in mostly shade on the east side of my garage (moist, well-drained soil). This little cutie cloned itself to the other side of my yard (about sixty feet away), directly to the west of a 45 year old silver maple. How does it survive the dryness? Who knows, but since it volunteered someplace that is almost impossible to grow anything, I'm very happy!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Washington, Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Perry, Maine
Annapolis, Maryland
Jefferson, Maryland
Attleboro, Massachusetts
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Isle, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Lincoln, Nebraska
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Blossvale, New York
Buffalo, New York
Croton On Hudson, New York
Glen Cove, New York
Wallkill, New York
Flat Rock, North Carolina
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Osceola, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Wakefield, Rhode Island
Dickson, Tennessee
Leesburg, Virginia
Wild Rose, Wisconsin

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