A Weed That Provides Relief from Mosquito Bites!
As a boy I loved Jewelweed, also called Touch-Me-Not, and by its scientific name, Impatiens capensis. The seed pods, when fully ripe, are ready to explode at the touch of a finger. Ka-boom! I was delighted to send half a dozen seeds flying 3 feet or more. Now, as a serious gardener, I mostly try to control Jewel weed, though it isn’t really possible.
Jewelweed grows with my Beebalm - whenever it can.
Jewelweed is a tall plant, up to 5 feet, with fragile hollow stems that are quite juicy. My sister and I figured out when we were young that rubbing the juice of the jewelweed on a mosquito bite would quickly eliminate the itch. I have read that it will cure poison ivy and poison oak, though have no personal experience with that aspect of it.
The scientific genus of jewelweed is Impatiens, the same as the nice flowers we buy for shady nooks. And it, like its cousin, it prefers shady places and rich, moist soil. But, true to its designation as a weed, it will grow almost anywhere except hot, dry sandy soil.
Common impatiens growing on my deck
Another cousin, Himalayan jewelweed (Impatiens glandulifera) has gorgeous purplish flowers. But it is considered an invasive in many areas, including England where it was first brought from the Far East. Now it is thought to be as invasive as Japanese knotweed and Giant Hogweed. I’ve read it can propel its seeds up to 21 feet!
Last August the Jewelweed nearly overtook me!
Not only do little children love pour jewelweed, so do hummingbirds. They are often seen dancing around the blossoms. So let a little live, it's not such a bad weed.
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