Chelone (plant)

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Chelone glabra 002.JPG
Chelone glabra
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Chelone

C. cuthbertii
C. glabra
C. lyonii
C. obliqua

Chelone lyonii
Chelone obliqua

Chelone is a genus of four[1] species of perennial herbaceous plants native to eastern North America.[1][2] 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.[1] C. cuthbertii, C. glabra, and C. lyonii are diploid and C. obliqua is either tetraploid or hexaploid.[1]

Relationships to other plants[edit]

The closest relatives of Chelone are Chionophila and Nothochelone from western North America.[1] It is also more closely related to Collinsia than to other members of the family such as snapdragons, plantains, and foxglove.[3]


C. glabra is the most widely distributed species of the genus: from Georgia to Newfoundland and from Mississippi to Manitoba;[4] the other three are found in more restricted areas.

C. lyonii is found in the Blue Ridge of Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.[1]

C. cuthbertii is found in two areas: the Blue Ridge of North Carolina and the coastal plain of Virginia.[1]

C. obliqua is found as tetraploids in the Blue Ridge, or hexaploids in two areas: Tennessee to Arkansas and Michigan, or the Atlantic coastal plain from South Carolina to Maryland.[1]

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.[1] The four species seem to have diverged recently.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 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. 
  2. ^ "Chelone L". 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "Chelone glabra". PLANTS. 
  • Media related to Chelone at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Chelone at Wikispecies