Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

    Chelone glabra

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    Chelone glabra


    Chelone: Greek for "tortoise" referring to shape of flower to tortoise head
    Glabra: Latin for "smooth" referring to lack of hairs on leaves and stems


    Traditional name

    Bitter Herb
    Snake Head
    Turtle Broom, Turtlebloom
    Saltrheum weed
    Shell flower
    Hummingbird Tree

    Used parts



    Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Lamiidae / Tubiflorae; Scrophulariales; Scrophulariaceae - Snapdragon Family


    Original proving

    no proving

    Description of the substance

    Zone: 3 to 8
    Habit: Herbaceous perennial
    Family: Scrophulariaceae
    Missouri Native: Yes
    Range: United States
    Height: 2 to 3 feet
    Spread: 1.5 to 2.5 feet
    Bloom Time: August - October
    Bloom Color: White with pink tinge
    Sun: Part shade
    Water: Medium to wet
    Maintenance: Low

    General Culture:
    Best grown in moist to wet, rich, humusy soils in part shade. Appreciates a good composted leaf mulch, particularly in sunny areas. Consider pinching back the stem ends in spring to reduce mature plant height, especially if growing plants in strongly shaded areas where they are more likely to need some support. In optimum environments, however, staking is usually not required.

    Noteworthy Characteristics:
    This species of turtlehead is a stiffly erect, clump-forming, leafy-stemmed, Missouri native perennial which typically grows 2-3' tall and occurs in moist woods, swampy areas and along streams mostly in the southeastern part of the State. Hooded, snapdragon-like, two-lipped, white flowers with a tinge of pink appear in tight, spike-like terminal racemes from late summer into autumn. Flowers purportedly resemble turtle heads. Coarsely-toothed, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Synonymous with C. obliqua 'Alba'.

    This is a perennial, smooth, herbaceous plant, with a simple, erect, somewhat 4-sided stem, about 2 or 3 feet high. The leaves are opposite, sessile, or nearly so, smooth, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, serrate, and of a dark, shining green above. The flowers are large, inodorous, white, rose color, or purple, subsessile, in a short, terminal, dense spike, somewhat resembling the head of a snake or tortoise; the corolla is inflated, bilabiate, and contracted at the mouth; the upper lip is broad and arched, and keeled in the middle; the one woolly within; the calyx is deeply 5-parted, with 3 bracts at the base. Stamens 4, with hairy filaments and hairy, cordate anthers, a fifth sterile filament smaller than the others; ovary ovate; style long, exsert, and bending downward. The fruit is an oval, 2-celled 2-valved capsule, with many small, wing-margined seeds.

    A perennial plant of the Figwort family usually found growing sparingly in the eastern United States and Canada on the margins of swamps, wet woods and rivers. Native to North America it is an erect plant from 2 to 4 feet high, smooth-stemmed (slightly 4-sided), bearing opposite oblong leaves (stalkless or nearly so and toothed) and short dense terminal spikes of two-lipped white (or purplish) or cream or rose flowers appearing on a spike. The lower lip is bearded in the throat and the heart-shaped anthers and filaments are woolly. Leaves have a slight, somewhat tea-like odor and a very bitter taste.