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.  


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

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


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