Jewelweed, Spotted
Impatiens capensis
Family Balsaminaceae

* Flower colored with varying shades of orange, spotted with a deeper red-orange, hanging like an earring or a goldfish.
* Flower stems succulent, juicy.
* Leaves opposite, spade-shaped, with rounded teeth on purple stems.
* Seed capsule oval.
* Height: 2-5'.

Natural History:
* Flowers July - September.
* Habitat: Wet, shady areas, streambanks.
* Range: Throughout the United States.
* Native.

* Jewelweed seed capsules hold the seeds under tension, and they split and coil when triggered by the wind or by a touch (hence the name 'touch- me-not"), sending the seeds catapulting up to four feet away.

* Jewelweed leaves are, for an unknown reason, waterproof; water beads across their surface, kept from touching the leaf by a thin layer of air trapped in microscopic hairs on the leaf. If you immerse a leaf in water, it will appear silver. When you remove the leaf it will be perfectly dry.

* The juice in the jewelweed's stem can actually help reduce inflammation from poison ivy and insect bites. If you come into contact with poison ivy and there is jewelweed in the vicinity, mash it and apply the mass to the affected area.

* Native Americans used jewelweed in treating stomach cramps, and they boiled the juice of the plant to make a yellow-orange dye.


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008