Chelone is a genus of four species of perennial herbaceous plants native to eastern North America. They all have similarly shaped flowers (which led to the name turtlehead due to their resemblance to the head of a turtle), which vary in color from white to red, purple or pink. C. cuthbertii, C. glabra, and C. lyonii are diploid and C. obliqua is either tetraploid or hexaploid.
Relationships to other plants
The closest relatives of Chelone are Chionophila and Nothochelone from western North America. It is also more closely related to Collinsia than to other members of the family such as snapdragons, plantains, and foxglove.
The relationship between the different populations is complicated and it appears that C. obliqua in fact has arisen several times from diploid ancestors of the other three species. The four species seem to have diverged recently.
- Allan D. Nelson; Wayne J. Elisens (1999). "Polyploid evolution and biogeography in Chelone (Scrophulariaceae): morphological and isozyme evidence". American Journal of Botany. Botanical Society of America. 86 (10): 1487–1501. doi:10.2307/2656929. JSTOR 2656929. PMID 10523288.
- "Chelone L".
- Olmstead, R. G.; dePamphilis, C. W.; Wolfe, A. D.; Young, N. D.; Elisons, W. J. & Reeves P. A. (2001). "Disintegration of the Scrophulariaceae". American Journal of Botany. Botanical Society of America. 88 (2): 348–361. doi:10.2307/2657024. JSTOR 2657024. PMID 11222255.
- "Chelone glabra". PLANTS.