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Old 10-07-2015, 11:23 AM   #1
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Default Another reason to grow white turtlehead/chelone

More evidence that biodiversity within a native plant community creates a healthy habitat by providing what is needed for the health of all. Over long times of evolving together each surviving member of each community has complicated interdependencies just beginning to be examined and understood.

It was interesting to note that the white turtlehead/chelone glabra was the only plant they found with said ingredient within the nectar as well as the rest of the plant.

Bees Use Drugs? Evidence of Self-Medication - YardMap

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Since the 1970s, scientists have documented animals engaging in self-medication, or the consumption of plants and other natural resources in their native environments to combat parasitic infections. Many animals, from neurologically complex mammals, like the Ethiopian Baboon, to less neurologically complex insects, like the Fruit Fly (Drosophila melanogaster), engage in self-medication, so it is not surprising that growing evidence points to bees’ participation in this practice as well.
In fact, previous research documented honey bees increase their foraging of antibiotic plant resins when under stress from fungal pathogens. Could more access to certain plants provide some solutions for decreasing bee populations?
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Researchers found that the bees that had parasitic infections of Crithidia bombi spent up to three times* longer foraging on plants with beneficial secondary metabolites than uninfected bees. Moreover, laboratory experiments documented that the parasite load was reduced by 61-81% * in individuals when infected bees were fed some secondary compounds.
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It is possible that one environmental pressure currently responsible for declining bee populations is parasitic infection. The researchers go so far as to suggest that understanding the chemistry of bee diets could, at least, provide missing information in the mystery of pollinator declines and suggest ways that people can support bees’ “self-medication” efforts through targeted plantings.
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This particular study of eastern bumble bees focused on the White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), a plant native to North America, and one of the only known to date to contain this secondary metabolite in flower nectar.
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:20 PM   #2
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Nice rain garden plant or along a swale or pond. A native pink also grows here in Illinois, less commonly but within wooded shade.

Turtlehead

White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra linifolia)

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Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun, wet to moist conditions, and a fertile soil containing some organic matter. Temporary flooding is tolerated. This plant can be maintained in gardens if it is watered during dry spells.
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Faunal Associations: The flowers are pollinated by nectar-seeking bumblebees; sometimes they also attract the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. In the northern half of Illinois, White Turtlehead is the preferred host for caterpillars of the butterfly Euphydryas phaeton phaeton (Baltimore). This butterfly is fairly uncommon. Other insects that feed on the foliage of White Turtle include leaf-mining larvae of the flea beetle Diabolia chelones, larvae of the sawfly Tenthredo grandis, and larvae of the sawfly Macrophya nigra. The seeds are eaten by larvae of the fly Phytomyza chelonei and larvae of the polyphagous moth Endothenia hebesana, while larvae of Papaipema nepheleptena (Turtlehead Borer Moth) bore through the stems (Clark et al. 2004, Smith 2006, Eastman, 1995). The foliage is bitter and usually avoided by White-Tailed Deer and other mammalian herbivores.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:05 PM   #3
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Just today, I collected a couple seed pods from a white turtlehead that I spotted blooming earlier this fall along the side of a road. I'm hoping to grow a colony of them and maintain the local genotype.

Good to know it is even more beneficial than just providing food.

Thanks for sharing, Gloria. Another great reason to promote biodiversity. I'm so excited about creating habitat here on our property with a huge variety of natives with woodland, meadow, and wetland.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:05 PM   #4
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I have white and pink turtlehead. I didn't think the pink was native. The bees like mine though. I need to move the white to an area where it will get more water. It is host for the Baltimore checkerspot my state butterfly. Do you think the checkerspot would use the pink turtlehead Gloria? I think I will move the white to where the pink is.
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:17 PM   #5
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I'd love to grow it but I don't have a moist spot for it. I've tried and failed at swamp milkweed, it is so dry here. Some of the more moisture loving shrubs I can grow if I keep them watered the first year or two until the roots get deep enough into the soil to sustain themselves. Perennials are another thing altogether unless they are tap rooted. It looks like Chelone is fibrous rooted so that's a problem.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by EllenW View Post
It is host for the Baltimore checkerspot my state butterfly.
Very cool. I hope you get to witness the life cycle of your state butterfly.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:08 PM   #7
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linrose, would you consider sinking a water-tight tub into the ground or a liner? You could fill it with a moisture-holding soil and if the natural rainfall doesn't keep it moist enough, you could always fill it with a hose on occasion when necessary.
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Old 10-10-2015, 10:43 AM   #8
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That's a good idea. I tried to do something like that at the end of a drainage swale with a retaining wall and good rich soil but I didn't use any liner. I had hoped it would slow down the runoff downslope where it breaks fairly steeply to avoid erosion during big rain storms. My feeble attempt at a "rain garden". I planted ferns there that have done well. I could try to renovate it and add a liner of sorts. I'd also like to expand it anyway. Thanks for a good fall project idea!
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Old 10-12-2015, 08:20 AM   #9
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Mine is pretty drought tolerant. We had a long dry spell this summer and it did well. It is in part shade
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Old 10-12-2015, 08:53 AM   #10
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There is a native white chelone glabra with a wide distribution throughout eastern U.S. Of the 4 main species, all native to eastern North America, 3 are very specific to place.
There are several named garden cultivars sold by the horticultural industry bred for flower color and size.

http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/...turtlehead.htm

Quote:
Comments: Pink Turtlehead (Chelone obliqua speciose) is the only native Chelone sp. (Turtlehead) in Illinois with pink to deep rosy pink flowers. It is an attractive plant with turtlehead-shaped flowers. The other native Turtlehead within the state is Chelone glabra (White Turtlehead), which has white (or slightly pink) flowers and shorter petioles (less than ¼"). Sometimes Chelone lyonii (Lyon's Turtlehead) is grown in flower gardens, although it has not naturalized within the state. This species is native to the Appalachian mountains in the SE. Lyon's Turtlehead has flowers that are about the same color as those of Pink Turtlehead, but it has wider leaf blades and longer petioles (½–1½" long). Other common names that refer to Chelone obliqua include Rose Turtlehead, Purple Turtlehead, and Red Turtlehead. Plants that are offered for sale as 'Chelone obliqua' by mass-market nurseries may be hybrids of undetermined parentage, rather than the open-pollinated species.
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/...ink_turtle.htm

Quote:
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]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelone_(plant)

Polyploid evolution and biogeography in Chelone (Scrophulariaceae): morphological and isozyme evidence
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