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The interesting flowers of this species resemble the head of a turtle, hence the common name. Because of these unique flowers, Chelone spp. (turtleheads) are easy to distinguish from other groups of plants. Among the turtleheads occurring in the Midwest, White Turtlehead is unique in having white flowers (although they are sometimes tinted light pink or pale purple). It also has more narrow leaves than other turtleheads, which is especially pronounced in var. linifolia, as illustrated in the photograph of the leaves. The other turtlehead species that occurs in Illinois, Chelone obliqua (Pink Turtlehead), has pink flowers and broader leaves with longer petioles (these petioles exceed ¼" in length). This species is uncommon and usually occurs in damp wooded habitats.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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