Jewelweed (Impatiens compensus)
Jewelweed will be useful to the reader if he or she has previously encountered Poison Ivy or Stinging Nettle, also to be featured later on this blog. The sap of Jewelweed can soothe the irritation caused to the skin by touching these plants. The sap can also ease the suffering caused by bug bites or Athlete’s Foot.
As a side note, and perhaps even more importantly, the Jewelweed is also sometimes commonly called “touch-me-not” because the flowers can eject their seedpods somewhat enthusiastically when disturbed. This mechanism can be quite entertaining for children, and may also provide a depressingly brief yet rare moment of glee for the survivor whose life has become a nightmarish torrent of fear, anxiety and hopelessness.
ID and Other Notes:
2-5 foot tall annual herbacious plant. The stems are somewhat translucent and fragile. Leaves are serrated, hairless, ovate, and smooth. Orange jewelweed has a bright orange flower, usually clustered in groups of 2 or 3 off the upper leaves. They have 5 petals forming upper and lower ‘lips’.
Found in openings in moist woodlands, floodplains, or at the edges of paths, ditches, or swamps. Prefers partial shade/sun and fertile soil full of organic materials. Prefers wet or moist conditions; can tolerate flooding. The orange flowers can glitter in sunlight and have positive aesthetic effects. Can be planted by cuttings or by seed.