Chelone obliqua

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, rich, loam, clay

Height: 1'-3'

Bloom Time: July, August, September

Bloom Color: purple, pink

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, bog plant, clumping, deer resistant, naturalizing, pond margin plant, stream margin plant

Chelone obliqua  (red turtlehead)
  • Chelone obliqua  (red turtlehead)
  • Chelone obliqua  (red turtlehead)
  • Chelone obliqua  (red turtlehead)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Chelone obliqua

Also known as:

red turtlehead

,

pink turtlehead

,

rose turtlehead

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Chelone obliqua is a very showy perennial, that produces a central stem, up to 3'tall, terminated by a densely clustered spike of pink to purple, snapdragon-like flowers. These are up to 1 1/2" long and are said to resemble a turtle head, hence the common name. The plants form dense clusters, and bare attractive, deep green, opposite leaves that are up to 6" long, coarsely-toothed, and lance-shaped.

Cultivation

Red turtlehead prefers a spot that will remain consistently moist. It does best in soil that is rich in organic matter, and will tolerate heavy clay and poor drainage. It will tolerate full sun to part shade, although too much shade can result in weakened stems that might require staking. It is a clump-forming plant that can, under ideal conditions, spread vegetatively to form dense colonies.It is an ideal plant for rain gardens and the borders of ponds, streams, or other water features. The blooming period lasts about a month, from mid-summer to mid-fall. Zones 5-8

Propagation

Can be propagated from seed, or by clump division in early spring.

Additional Notes

This species has become rare in most of its native range, and although worthy of more attention, should not be collected from the wild. The leaves are bitter, and are usually avoided by deer and other herbivores. The plants can be susceptible to powdery mildew if not provided with good air circulation.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: MI
  • Threatened: MD

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Scrophulariales
Family Scrophulariaceae Figwort family
Genus Chelone turtlehead
Species Chelone obliqua red turtlehead