Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Jewelweed or Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens spp.)

This morning's hedgerow find is an independent, unruly and invasive entity, sometimes called Jewelweed for the way in which drops of water bead up on its shimmering blue-grey foliage after a heavy dew or a rain. It is also known as Touch-Me-Not for the way in which its seed receptacles explode when touched, catapulting themselves several feet into the air and out over one's garden or hedgerow. At the slightest contact or in a gentle breeze, the five sections of each seed pod spring into riotous curlicues and hurl their large shiny black seeds up, up and away. The Jewelweed's architecture is a remarkable thing, and so is its engineering for proliferation purposes.

Hummingbirds adore Jewelweed, and for that reason, I entertained a native version (bright orange) for a season or two in the hummingbird garden behind the little blue house in the village, but it was not there long, and gardening was a wild ride while it was in residence. By the second springtime, there were specimens popping up everywhere, and they were threatening to take over the garden entirely and elbow everything else into the void. Jewelweed takes very seriously indeed the biblical injunction about going forth and multiplying.

I was surprised to find this specimen in the hedgerow on our walk this morning, and am now wondering whether I should leave it there or pull it out, as it already shows signs of taking over in one of our favourite walking places. I would prefer to "let it be", but shall keep an eye on it.

1 comment:

jzr said...

Our jewel weed here is yellow and orange and is not invasive. It often grows in moist areas near stinging nettle. It is said that if you get stung by nettle you crush a leaf of jewel weed and rub it on the stinging area to make the pain go away.

I'm always fascinated by the differences in plants over all of the regions.

Your blog is as lovely as ever!