Spotted Jewelweed

Impatiens capensis

Paul Jackson

Spotted Jewelweed is a tall, leafy plant. It grows up to five feet tall.

Leaves are thin and grow over three inches long. Underneath, they are very pale. When leaves are underwater, they look silvery. Stems are translucent (you can see light through them).

Spotted Jewelweed grows in wetlands, especially in the shade. Often it grows in dense stands (many jewelweed plants together).

This plant is an annual, so it only lives for one year.

Spotted Jewelweed flowers are golden-orange with red splotches. Each flower is about an inch long. This plant blooms from July to October.

Hugh Wilson

Hugh Wilson

Spotted Jewelweed fruits are long pods. Pressure builds up inside the pods, until they reach the point where they explode when touched. Jewelweed depends on animals to brush against it so this can happen and seeds can launch to a great enough distance to grow a new plant.

The exploding pods have earned this plant the nickname "Touch-me-not."

While this plant needs moisture to grow, it often grows alongside another plant that grows just about anywhere: Poison Ivy. The sap of jewelweed is even used to relieve itching from Poison Ivy rashes.

Hugh H. Iltis, Wisconsin State Herbarium

Delaware Wildflowers

Spotted Jewelweed is often visited by nectar-loving animals, such as hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. These animals help pollinate the plant by accidentally taking pollen with them and dropping it off on another plant. Pollination allows jewelweed to grow fruits and seeds.

Seeds are eaten by Northern Bobwhite and White-footed Mice.

Mark Moran

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Visiting Spotted Jewelweed Flower
Video
Ethan J. Temeles

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants

OTHER

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Black and Yellow Argiope

Poison Ivy

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Po

Honey Bee

Spotted Salamander

Bracken Fern

Honey Bee Po

White-footed Mouse

Northern Water Snake

Cinnamon Fern

Golden Northern Bumble Bee Po

Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite

Virginia Creeper

White-tailed Deer D

Golden Northern Bumble Bee

Ebony Jewelwing

Lizard's Tail

Red Fox D

Wood Duck

Dodder

Raccoon D

Southern Leopard Frog

Devil's Beggar-tick

Virginia Opossum D

Beaver

Spotted Joe-pye Weed

Striped Skunk D

CommonWater Strider

Lamb's Quarters

Dodder Pa

Common Whitetail

Skunk Cabbage

White-footed Mouse D

Common Yellowthroat

Six-spotted Fishing Spider

Fragile Forktail

Relationship to Humans:

As mentioned above, Spotted Jewelweed sap has been used to relieve itching from Poison Ivy. It is also used as a remedy for Athlete's Foot fungus. It is a good attractor of hummingbirds and butterflies, but it needs moisture, so it may not do well in most gardens. The seeds are not really dangerous, and people sometimes like to make them explode from pods, but be careful not to let them hit you in the eye!

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Plant
DIVISION
Magnoliophyta
CLASS
Magnoliopsida
ORDER
Geraniales
FAMILY
Balsaminaceae
GENUS
Impatiens
SPECIES
Impatiens capensis

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