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Orange Jewelweed
Impatiens capensis

I used to think this was kind of a weedy plant, but now I kind of love it. When I’ve encountered it it’s usually in or right next to water – whether a stream or pond. But the best thing is that this plant has a great use: you can crush its leaves and put the balm on your skin to help sooth poison ivy and wood nettle rash. So, not really a weed when you’re in need, eh? I think I just made that up.

There’s also a species of this with yellow flowers called, you guessed it: Yellow Jewelweed. Turns out, unlike most woodland plants, this one is an annual and grows new from seeds each year (many woodland plants are perennial). This is a very cold sensitive plant that dies back in the fall when temps get around 50 degrees F. Hummingbirds and bees like the nectar-rich flowers.

Alternate Names: Orange Touch-Me-Not
Size: 2'-5' tall.
Family: Balsaminaceae (Touch-me-not Family)
Habitat: Streamsides, moist forests, bogs and floodplain forests. 
Identification: "Fleshy annual with smooth, hollow stems and alternate ovate to elliptic leaves 1-4 in. long. Orange-yellow, trumpet shaped flowers about 1 in. long, on thread-like stalks. Fruit is a translucent green capsule. Flowers May-October, Fruits June-October." From Wildflowers & Plant Communities.
Uses: Crushed leaves applied to skin sooth the irritation from poison ivy and wood nettle.
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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