One to seven feet high. Stem. - Smooth, upright, branching. Leaves. - Opposite, lance-shaped, toothed. Flowers. - White or pinkish, growing in a spike or close cluster. Calyx. - Of five sepals. Corolla. - Two-lipped, the upper lip broad and arched, notched at the apex, lower lip three-lobed at the apex, woolly bearded in the throat. Stamens. - Four perfect ones, with woolly filaments and very woolly, heart-shaped anthers, and one small sterile one. Pistil. - One.
It seems to have been my fate to find the flowers which the botany relegates to "dry, sandy soil " flourishing luxuriantly in marshes; and to encounter the flowers which by rights belong to "wet woods" flaunting themselves in sunny meadows. This cannot be attributed to the natural depravity of inanimate objects, for what is more full of life than the flowers ? - and no one would believe in their depravity except perhaps the amateur-botanist who is endeavoring to master the different species of golden-rods and asters. Therefore it is pleasant to record that I do not remember ever having met a turtle-head, which is assigned by the botany to "wet places," which had not gotten as close to a stream or a marsh or a moist ditch as it well could without actually wetting its feet. The flowers of this plant are more odd and striking than pretty. Their appearance is such that their common name seems fairly appropriate. I have heard unbotanical people call them "white closed gentians."
Plate XXX. Turtle-Head. - C. glabra