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Chelone glabra - L.

Common Name Balmony, White turtlehead
Family Scrophulariaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Margins of swamps, wet woods and rivers[4, 43].
Range Eastern N. America - Newfoundland to Ontario and Minnesota, south to Georgia and Missouri.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Chelone glabra Balmony, White turtlehead
Chelone glabra Balmony, White turtlehead


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Chelone glabra is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


C. obliqua alba.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antibilious  Aperient  Appetizer  Cathartic  Cholagogue  Detergent  Tonic  Vermifuge

Balmony is a very bitter herb with a tea-like flavour that acts mainly as a tonic for the liver and digestive system[238]. It has long been held in esteem in N. American folk medicine, though it has never been investigated scientifically[268]. The herb also has anti-depressant and laxative effects[238]. A decoction of the whole herb is antibilious, aperient, appetizer, cathartic, cholagogue, detergent, tonic, vermifuge[4, 21, 46, 61, 165, 207, 222]. It is used internally in the treatment of consumption, debility, diseases of the liver, gallbladder problems, gallstones etc[4, 254]. It is also used to relieve nausea and vomiting, intestinal colic and to expel worms[254]. Its tonic effect upon the digestive system has made it of benefit in the treatment of anorexia nervosa[268]. Externally, it is applied as a soothing ointment to piles, inflamed tumours, irritable ulcers, inflamed breasts etc[4, 268]. The plant is harvested when in flower and is dried for later use[238].


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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Easily grown in any ordinary soil, but it grows best in a light loam[1]. Tolerates heavy clays and light shade[1, 200]. Prefers growing in light shade[238]. Survives but does not thrive in dry conditions[200]. Prefers growing in a bog garden or in a soil that is unlikely to dry out[200]. Plants are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c[187]. A polymorphic species, there are several named forms[43]. The plant spreads freely at the roots and so is best grown in a large pot[4].


Temperature Converter

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Seed - sow spring in a cold frame and keep moist. The seed germinates in 2 - 6 weeks at 20°c[164]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring or early summer. Division in autumn[1]. Cuttings of soft tips in summer in a sandy soil in a frame[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Sharon McIntosh   Sun Sep 12 00:31:23 2004

While clearing the area around a small stream in our church's memorial garden, we discovered this plant growing in profusion under the weeds. Had never seen it before in Owsley County, Kentucky

Matt Gunnels   Thu Feb 2 2006


holistic online good info

Manish Gupta   Wed May 2 2007

DEar, This page is asset to the cultivators of Chelone. Please inform from where we can get seeds of Chelone glabra

Cultivators , Importers & Exporters of Herbs and Seeds We deal in rare herbs and seeds since 1957

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