May 31, 2020

Greek for Tortoise

Chelone glabra - White turtlehead

Chelone glabra – White turtlehead | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

What’s in a name? For Chelone glabra, your clue could come from the blossom, too. White turtlehead is native to eastern North America, a perennial that can reach up to 4 feet in height, with its flowers – which resemble a turtle’s head – topping the erect stems. But the name also points to another reptilian link, stemming from the Greek for a tortoise. If you are looking for white turtlehead, look for it near the edges of wetlands and the shores of rivers, lakes and swamps. Kind of like the turtles it resembles.

Wild Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory,