Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis

Life Cycle

Annual.

Propagation

Reproduces by seed. Mature seeds are flattened-ovate, blackish to green, with a ridge running along the length of both sides.

Stems

Jewelweed has a succulent, translucent and hollow stem.

Leaves

Leaves are long-oval, long-stalked with a few rounded teeth. Upper leaves are alternate, while the lower leaves are opposite. They are water-repellent, so after it rains, they are covered with raindrops or tiny "jewels".

Flowers and Fruit

Flowers are trumpet-shaped, blooming from early summer to fall. Flowers have three petals, one curving to form a long slipper-shaped spur. Spotted jewelweed plants have yellow-orange petals with red, yellow or white spots.

Habitat

Jewelweed grows in wet, sunny areas, such as fens, roadsides, ditches and along creek beds. It is difficult to transplant and seeds do not store well.

Distinguishing Features

Jewelweed is noted for having seed pods that burst when touched, which can spread seeds over a distance of several square meters. Jewelweed can grow up to 1.5 metres tall.

Medicinal uses

Jewelweed has been used as an "anti-itch" remedy in the treatment of dermatitis resulting from poison-ivy. However, several studies have found that jewelweed extract is not effective in the treatment of dermatitis resulting from poison ivy or poison oak. Guin, JD., Reynolds, R. (1980) Jewelweed treatment of poison ivy dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis 6(4):287-8. Long, D., Ballentine, N.H., Marks, J.G. (1997) Treatment of poison ivy/oak allergic contact dermatitis with an extract of jewelweed. Am. J. Contact. Dermat. 8(3):150-3.


Figure #1.

Young plant.


Figure #2.

Jewelweed plant.


Figure #3.

Jewelweed growing in Southern Ontario, late July.


Figure #4.

Yellow-orange flower of jewelweed plant.


Figure #5.

Side-view of jewelweed flower.


Figure #6.

Seedpod of jewelweed.


Figure #7.

Leaf of jewelweed.


Figure #8.

Smooth stem of jewelweed.


Figure #9.

Base of jewelweed plant.