September Jewels

I made a quick visit to our local nature center last weekend. I was on a quest for a patch of touch-me-nots, silver-cap, wild balsam, lady’s eardrops, ear-jewels, pocketdrops, snapweeds, slipperweeds, wild lady’s slippers, silver-leaf, speckled jewels, silverweed, quick-in-the-hand, wild or brook celandine, solentine, snapdragons, shining-grass, clowslips, weather-cocks, or kicking colt. In other words, jewelweed.

As you can imagine, all these colorful names relate to descriptions and characteristics of the flowers, leaves and seedpods of this lovely late summer bloom. 

I found a large patch along my favorite trail down by the trout stream. This native annual likes a moist, damp soil, along streams, ponds and marshlands. It also attracts the hummingbirds and helps sustain them as they begin their southern migration in the autumn. I didn’t see any hummingbirds yet this year, since it is still a little early, but there were lots of bees. I caught this fat fellow squeezing into the flower opening to get to the nectar deep inside.

  Jewelweeds are native North America flowers, their botanical name is impatiens biflora and are related to your garden variety impatiens walleriana which goes by the lovely nickname of Busy Lizzie – not native.

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Looks-wise, there aren’t a lot of similarities, but both have a spur at the back of the flower and the seed pods look and have the same characteristics. Just take a look at the 2 photos above for comparison.

This is the best part of the plant and one of my favorite childhood pasttimes. It is advantageous for this plant to spread it’s seeds in as wide an area as possible so to do so, the seed pod splits open and curls up throwing the seeds out on the near by ground. I used to have great fun (and still do) gently tugging on a fat seed bud and watching it burst open spilling it’s seeds. This is where the name Touch-Me-Not came from. If you don’t have access to jewelweed, try it with your windowbox impatiens when they begin to go to seed. The hybrid seedpods react in exactly the same way.

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For centuries, jewelweed has been used as a treatment for poison ivy and poison oak by crushing the stem and rubbing it into the affected area, though there is no medical proof that it is anything but a placebo.

It’s been a while for me, but I’ve decided to enter this last photo of my favorite late summer flower in Gardening Gone Wild’s September photo competition. It’s really wonderful to see all the beautiful photos and visit a lot of different gardening blogs and I feel that I’ve learned a good deal from the comments of the various judges.

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About Jill-O

a girl who likes lakes, trees and critters; making an attempt at living the artistic life.
This entry was posted in flowers, Michigan, nature, photos, plants, seeds, summer, wildflowers and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to September Jewels

  1. commonweeder says:

    If I have to have a weed, let it be jewelweed. Pretty, and easy to pull up. One of the weeds I actually knew how to name when I was a child.

  2. Cathy says:

    I agree, LOL. Why an’t I have a weed like THIS one in my garden! Lovely photos!

  3. Lisa says:

    oh my gosh, your photos are amazing! I love nature photography, you’ve got some great pics of the butterflies and damsel flies (I think that’s what they’re called!) I live right by an arboretum and love taking pictures too. Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! so glad I came here, back at ya 🙂

  4. Scott says:

    Love jewelweed … didn’t realize it went by all these other names. Hummingbirds can be tough to come by around my way (suburbs of Philly, PA), but I always have an excellent chance of spotting a couple in nearby jewelweed patches.

  5. Joy says:

    Hello Jill how are you ! : )
    I have wonderful memories as a kid blowing those silky pod seeds around .. butterfly weed in my own garden still reminds me of that : )
    I haven’t come across this native but it is beautiful .. I don’t seem to have a lot of luck with seeds but I keep trying !
    Joy

  6. Superb ! Great photos, whoa !!! I have friends in Ohio and Michigan (Capac), and I hope they’re blessed with the same beautiful landscapes. Thanks a lot for sharing, Jill, and carry on, please. Greetings from Le Mans /France. Abby.

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