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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Impatiens capensis Meerb.)


TOUCH-ME-NOT FAMILY (Balsaminaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: An annual with a succulent, smooth stem that grows to a height of 5-15 dm. The leaves are alternate, finely toothed, and 3-10 cm. long on petioles about 2.5 cm. in length. Flowers are pendent, conical, 2-3 cm. long, with a spur 8 mm. long and curved forward. Flowers are usually orange-yellow with brown or reddish spots; the mouth of the flower is half as wide as the flower is long. Fruit is a capsule that, when mature, pops open at the slightest touch (which gives this plant another common name, touch-me-not). In flower from June to September.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Jewelweed is found in a wide variety of wetland habitats including floodplain forests, shrub-carrs, fresh (wet) meadows, wood swamps, and along streambanks and springs. It occasionally can be found in upland woods. A synonym is I. biflora Willd.

Crushing the stem and rubbing the juice on the skin is said to alleviate the symptoms of poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) and nettle (Urticaceae) stings.

SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); Swink and Wilhelm (1994); and Voss (1985).

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