Species of the Week: Spotted Touch-Me-Not

This week we will be looking at a plant with many names; the Spotted Touch-Me-Not or Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). Also known as Jewelweed, Snapweed or Spotted Snapweed. Although the name may sound threatening, the meaning behind this plant’s name is in its method of seed dispersal. As you can see in the pictures, the horn-shaped flowers of the Spotted Jewelweed are light orange with lots of red flecks near the opening. The blooming season for these flowers is from July to September, but surprisingly each flower only lasts for about a day! The fruits contain seed pods which when touched, will eject seeds in all directions. Hence the name “Touch-Me-Not”. This flower has many beneficial uses. It tends to grow in the same areas as Poison Ivy, which is helpful because it could help to alleviate the pain and itching caused by Poison Ivy and Poison Sumac. The leaves and stems of Spotted Touch-Me-Not are believed to have a compound which counteracts the effects of urushiol (the oily irritant found in Poison Ivy). The Spotted Jewelweed is also a critical flowering plant for Hummingbirds. Thanks to their deep flowers, Hummingbirds are able to use their long beaks to reach their nectar. This flower is said to make up 5-10% of the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds diet! Spotted Touch-Me-Nots thrive the best in moist environments. If you happen upon any of these plants, try gently touching their pale green fruit pods and see what happens!

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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