Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jewelweed - Touch Me Not

One of my favorite late summer flowers is jewelweed, also called touch-me-not.    It grows in the ditches and damp places in the bottoms and along creek sides.   They are our local impatiens - only more exotic looking than the pink and white ones you get at the garden store.  

We have two species: Impatiens pallida, which is yellow; and Impatiens capensis, which is orange with spots.    They are both native to North America.

The yellow one, Pale Touch-Me-Not shows up in limestone regions and southern Indiana is one of the foremost limestone regions in the world.   We're famous for our limestone.  

And our touch-me-not. 

The orange jewelweed is the most common jewelweed.   There's a lot of healing lore around it - though none of that has been officially tested.  [Few native plants have been officially investigated, but that doesn't mean they don't work, only that the medical establishment prefers other sources for medicines, etc.]

Jewelweed's most common homeopathic use is to treat skin ailments such as poison ivy.   The stems of the plant are fleshy and when crushed, impart a lovely cooling gel similar to aloe.  

The common name 'touch-me-not' comes from the fact that the ripe seed pods explode when touched, shooting the seeds out and about.  I've never tried it, but it sounds kind of fun.  

2 comments:

  1. The exploding seed pods are our fav part of these seeds...kinda like impatiens seed pods, but better since these are native. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay how did i not know this plant exists?! Yep, thats why i read your blog!

    ReplyDelete

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