Chelone (rhymes with "baloney") is a perennial native herb with a thickened rootstock.
It's found in fens and on stream banks, in wet meadows and woods in alkaline soil. It grows to 1 m tall usually unbranched as a single stem.
Origin of the name: Chelone, Gr., a tortoise; glabra: L., smooth, without hairs
Range: Newfoundland to MN, s. to GA, AL
WI Range: Statewide
Common associates: Marsh milkweed, Grass of Parnassus, Boneset
Wetland Indicator Status: OBL
Coefficient of Conservatism: C = 8 (S&W), C = 7 (MI)
Leaves are simple, opposite, and sharply toothed.
Leaves are narrowly lance-shaped, up to 15 cm long and usually about 10 times as long as wide.
White flowers are in a tight terminal cluster, each 2 to 3 cm long. The 5 petals are fused into two lips, the
upper lip with two lobes arching over the lower lip with three, and resembling a turtle's head. They bloom through August and September.
Turtlehead is the preferred larval food for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly.