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Orange Jewelweed Impatiens capensis


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Orange Jewelweed
credit: Derek Ramsey/CCSA

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Alternate name: Spotted Touch-me-not

Family: Balsaminaceae, Touch-me-not view all from this family

Description Tall, leafy plant with succulent translucent stems and pendent golden-orange flowers splotched with reddish-brown.
Habit: native annual herb; erect, branched, smooth stems; fibrous roots.
Height: to 8 ft (2.4 m)
Leaf: soft, alternate, triangular to elliptic, toothed, pointed, long-stalked, 1-5 in (3-12 cm) long; stalks sometimes longer than leaf blades.
Flower: orange, yellow or red, spotted, funnel-shaped, 0.75-1.25 in (2-3 cm) long; with 3 visible petals and curved spur at tip; from leaf axil, on slender drooping stalk.
Fruit: capsule to 1 in (2.5 cm) long; splitting open when ripe to expel seeds.

Flower May to October.

Habitat Shaded wetlands, wet meadows, streambanks, wet forests, roadsides; at low elevations.

Range Found throughout North America; except not found in northernmost Canada, Montana, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, or New Mexico.

Discussion Also known as jewelweed, common jewelweed, spotted jewelweed, orange balsam, spotted touch-me-not. An annual that often occurs in dense stands, it is especially adapted to hummingbird visitation; but bees and butterflies are also important pollinators. If the leaves are submerged, they have a silvery look. The stem juice is said to relieve itching from poison ivy and has also been used to treat athletes foot. Scientific data confirm the fungicidal qualities.