Chelone glabra (Turtlehead) Unity Grown
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Chelone glabra, commonly referred to as turtlehead or white turtlehead, is a native perennial named for its uniquely-shaped showy white flowers, which some say resemble the head of a turtle. Turtlehead typically grows to between two and six feet tall, though usually toward the shorter end of that range, with a spread of one to two feet wide. Chelone glabra is capable of slowly spreading through an area by way of its rhizomatic roots, but these thick roots can also help in wetland restoration and erosion control.
White turtlehead is typically found in swamps, marshes, shorelines of ponds and creeks, and other naturally wetter areas with full sun, though it is tolerant of more shaded conditions. Chelone glabra's white turtle-head-shaped flowers bloom from mid summer into the early fall, and are attractive to pollinators, but especially hummingbirds and butterflies, including the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly, which is considered rare in Maryland.
Closely related to other species of Chelone, C. glabra is even more tolerant of wet conditions than its relatives C. lyonii (pink turtlehead) and C. obliqua (red turtlehead).