Turtlehead. Chelone glabra L.

Figure 109.—Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

Other Common Names

Balmony, white turtlehead, turtle bloom, fishmouth codhead, salt-rheum weed snakehead, bitter herb, shellflower.

Habitat And Range

This native plant grows in swamps and along streams from Newfoundland to Manitoba and south to Florida and Kansas.


Turtlehead is an erect, slender herb with a 4-angled stem 1 to 4 feet in height and short-stemmed, sharp-toothed leaves from 3 to 6 inches in length. The flower clusters, which are produced in late summer or early fall consist of showy, whitish or pinkish flowers about an inch in length, resembling in form the head of a turtle or a snake.

Part Used

The herb, especially the leaves, collected during the flowering period.