Impatiens capensis, Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Impatiens capensis Meerb.
* Afb. zeldz. gew. t. 10. 1775
Impatiens capensis, the Orange Jewelweed, Common Jewelweed, Spotted Jewelweed or Orange Balsam, 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, Yellow Jewelweed (I. pallida).
The flowers are orange with a three-lobed corolla; one of the calyx lobes is colored similarly to the corolla and forms a hooked conical spur at the back of the flower. 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. Along with other species of jewelweed it is a traditional remedy for skin rashes, although controlled studies have not shown efficacy for this purpose.
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 centuries 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. This jewelweed species is quite similar to Impatiens noli-tangere, an Impatiens species native to Europe and Asia, as well as the other North American Impatiens. No evidence exists of natural hybrids, although the habitats occupied by the two species are very similar.
1. ^ P. D. Strausbaugh and Earl L. Core. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Seneca Books Inc., 1964. ISBN 0-89092-010-9 page 622.
Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License