Pale Touch-me-not, Jewelweed - Impatiens pallida • (Touch-me-not family - Balsaminaceae ) •

 

Two closely related species of touch-me-nots or "snapweeds" are common. Both are about 2 - 5 ft. tall, grow in moist ground or in water, are succulent annuals with watery juice, and have oval, coarsely toothed leaves. Spotted touch-me-not has attractive orange flowers, mottled with reddish-brown spots, which are suspended from threadlike supports. Both plants have pods which, when mature, burst suddenly upon being touched.

Pale Touch-me-not has blossoms that are pendant, similar to Spotted Touch-me-not (I. capensis) but pale yellow. Its flowers have a red-spotted sac but the spur is pointed downward. Wet shady places, calcareous mt. woods.

 

 

The plant grows in fairly large patches in moist, shaded ground and in open areas along streams. When touched, even lightly, its mature seedpods burst open and scatter their seeds; hence the common and generic names (impatiens, a Latin words meaning "impatient"). The hollow, succulent stem contains a watery juice, which can be used as an emergency prophylactic against the itch of poison ivy. Native Americans also used the juice to treat athletes' foot and other fungal skin ailments. Recent scientific analysis confirms that it has fungicidal agents.

The pale yellow species is less common. The dangling flowers of the Spotted Touch-me-not have red spots consists of a sac with a spur that is bent back parallel with the sac, spur shorter than the pale yellow Touch-me-not.

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