When does this bloom?
Where does this bloom?
Common along roadside in wet areas.
Impatiens capensis, the common jewelweed or touch-me-not, is an annual plant native to North America. It is common in bottomland soils, ditches, and along creeks, often growing side-by-side with its less common relative, Impatiens pallida.
The flowers are orange with a tubular corolla that is hooked at one end. The stems are somewhat translucent, succulent and have swollen or darkened nodes. The seed pods are pendant and have projectile seeds that explode out of the pods when they are lightly touched, if ripe, which is where the name touch-me-not comes from.
The species name “capensis”, meaning “of the cape”, is actually a misnomer, as Nicolaas Meerburgh was under the mistaken impression that it was native to the Cape of Good Hope, in southern Africa Impatiens capensis was transported in the 19th and 20th by humans to England, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Finland, and potentially other areas of Northern and Central Europe. These naturalized populations persist in the absence of any common cultivation by people.
The juice of the leaves can supposedly be used externally in the treatment of piles, fungal dermatitis, nettle stings, poison ivy rash, burns etc, although controlled studies have not shown efficacy for this purpose.
The succulent stems, whilst still young and tender, can be cut up and cooked like green beans. However, they contain calcium oxalate crystals (which can be dangerous if overconsumed and cause kindey stones, arthritis, gout, etc). Calcium oxalate is usually destroyed by thorough cooking.