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Chelone ‘Hotlips’


Flower Detail


Leaf Detail

Medium 1' to 3'
Part Shade
Flower Color:
Bloom Time:
July, August, September, October
Wildlife Interest:
Deer/Rabbit Resistant

Cheerful spikes of pink snapdragon-like flowers over spreading plants. Ideal middle-of-the-border plant for contrasting color and foliage among dwarf shrubs. Thrives in shaded settings and prefers moist conditions. Herbaceous perennial.

Chelone lyonii, commonly called turtlehead, pink turtlehead or Lyon’s turtlehead, is an upright, clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial in the figwort family which typically grows 2-4’ tall on stiff, square stems. It is native to wet woodland areas and streams in the southern Appalachian Mountains from Virginia to South Carolina and west to Tennessee, northern Mississippi and northern Alabama. It has escaped gardens and naturalized in parts of New England and New York. Hooded , snapdragon-like, two-lipped, pink flowers (to 1” long) bloom in tight, spike-like terminal racemes from late summer into fall (late July to September). Flowers have puffy pink corollas with lower lips bearded with yellow hairs. Flowers purportedly resemble the heads of open-mouthed turtles, hence the common name. Ovate, coarsely-toothed green leaves (to 3-6” long) have slender petioles, rounded bases and pointed tips.

Genus name comes from the Greek word chelone meaning tortoise in reference to the turtlehead shape of the flowers.

Specific epithet honors John Lyon (1765-1814), American botanist, who was an early explorer of the southern Appalachians.

‘Hot Lips’ features rosy pink fall flowers (richer pink than the species), bronze green maturing to dark green foliage (deeper green than the species), and red stems.

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