Chelone Species, Fishmouth, Shell Flower, Turtle Bloom, White Turtlehead

Chelone glabra

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Chelone (kay-LOH-nee) (Info)
Species: glabra (GLAY-bruh) (Info)
Synonym:Chelone alba
Synonym:Chelone capitata
Synonym:Chelone chlorantha
Synonym:Chelone elatior
Synonym:Chelone lanceolata



Water Requirements:

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

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Pale Pink


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

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

Kempton, Pennsylvania

Media, Pennsylvania

Osceola, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Wakefield, Rhode Island

Dickson, Tennessee

Leesburg, Virginia

Wild Rose, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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

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


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.


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.


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.


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!