An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Turtlehead Seed Head

1-18-13 turtlehead seedhead IMG_0917Turtlehead, Chelone glabra, is named for the flower’s resemblance to the head of a turtle. These flowers are pollinated by bumblebees, which crawl in between vertically-paired petals causing them to open, much like a turtle’s jaws. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are also attracted to this flower. After pollination has taken place, the ovary swells and forms capsules which open to release flat, brown seeds. To my eye, the seed capsules that persist through the winter bear even more similarity to this plant’s namesake than the flowers. Look for these seedheads near wetlands, floodplains, marshes and springs.

2 responses

  1. Mary,
    Thanks for the interesting post on Turtlehead. We have some of this on our property, and I’d love to propagate it beyond the current few plants. Do you know if the seeds are viable, what time of year to collect them, and if they need to be stratified before they are planted?
    Craig

    January 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm

  2. Turtlehead plants are on the top of my list to order for spring planting. I knew that bumble bees visited them, but didn’t know that ruby-throats are attracted to their flowers as well.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:38 am

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