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Jewelweed

(Impatiens capensis)

 

Other Names:

Spotted Touch Me Not

Range:

Family:

Balsaminaceae Touch Me Not family

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

An annual herbaceous plant.

Height:

3 - 5 ft in height

Leaves:

The leaves are oval and toothed. The lower leaves are arranged opposite, while the upper leaves are alternate.

Stem/Trunk:

The stems are somewhat translucent, succulent and have swollen or darkened nodes.

Root:

N/A

Flower:

Season:

Summer to Autumn

Appearance:

The flowers are orange with red spots and a three-lobed corolla; one of the calyx lobes is colored similarly to the corolla and forms a hooked conical spur at the back of the flower.

Seed/Fruit:

The seed pods are pendant and have projectile seeds that explode out of the pods when they are lightly touched, if ripe, which is where the name touch-me-not comes from.

Miscellaneous characteristics:

N/A

Habitat:

Bottomland soils, ditches, and along creeks, often growing side-by-side with its less common relative, Yellow Jewelweed

Parts Used:

Aerial parts

Uses:

Wild Food Uses:

None Known

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

Traditionally Jewelweed has been used to treat skin rashes and irritations. I have used it to soothe a friend's poison ivy rash. I have heard it works as a preventative for poison ivy, but cannot personally attest to this.

 

You can preserve Jewelweed for use throughout the year by making a simple Jewelweed vinegar. Fill a mason jar with finely chopped or crushed jewelweed, and fill it once again with apple cider vinegar. Cover, and place in a cupboard for four weeks. Make sure to shake it at least once a day for the first week or so. After the four weeks pour the contents of the jar through a strainer lined with cheesecloth, into a large bowl. Pour the vinegar back into the cleaned jar. The covered jar will keep in a cupboard for about a year. I use this vinegar to soothe itches throughout the year. All you need to do is put a bit of it into a spray bottle, and spray it onto itchy skin to immediately alleviate the itch. If you do not have a spray bottle, you can apply the vinegar with a cloth or paper towel just as easily.

 

Jewelweed herbal preparation links:

Soothing Jewelweed Ointment

Medicinal Actions:

Antipruritic, Demulcent, Emollient

Notice how the morning dew condenses to drops on the leaves. These jewels glistening in the morning sun is where the plant gets one of its common names.

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield