Turtlehead is said to be named for the tortoise-head-like shape of the flowers, and perhaps this is so.
But I prefer to believe that it is named for the scaly-looking “neck” that contains developing flower buds. In any case, turtlehead
is a North American native.
Identification: Turtleheads are fond of wet areas such as
riverbanks. They are 12-36" (30-91 cm) tall, with flowerheads attached close to the central stem and
a cone-shaped flowerhead on the top up to 3" (7.6 cm) high. Individual flowers are pale yellow or
white, often tinged with pink, 1-1½" (2.5-3.8 cm) long, looking a bit like a bent tube. On closer
inspection, they are two shallow lobes above, and three below; the center lobe is “bearded.”
Each flower is bilaterally symmetrical. Leaves are lance-shaped, up to 6" (15 cm) long
× ½" (1.3 cm) wide, with serrated edges.
Medical: In the past, turtlehead has been used to
treat indigestion or constipation; as an appetite stimulant, and as an anthimintic. Its leaves have
been used to create a lotion for itching.