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Issue 1NatureNature Issue 1Species

While common in creeks and ditches, not many locals in our watershed know about Jewelweed, also known as Touch-Me-Not. You’ve probably seen them beginning in the early summer. Jewelweed grows to be around 1.5m tall, and it blossoms with orange flowers.
It’s a fascinating plant, and of a few of the reasons it is so interesting is in its two common names mentioned above. It’s called ‘jewel’ weed, because the leaves look silver underwater. After it rains, the water repellent leaves look like they’re covered in jewels. The orange or yellow flowers can also look like a jewel hanging delicately from the plant.

The fun fact about Jewelweed comes from its other name, Touch-Me-Not. When the seed pods are ripe, the pod will explode with the slightest touch. The seeds burst from the pod and fly several metres away from the point of lift-off. This helps the plant disperse itself to new areas.

Jewelweed Seed Pod exploding
Jewelweed also has a medicinal property. If you’re hiking, and you run into poison ivy, or poison oak, or stinging nettle, crushed jewelweed is like a natural anti-itch or anti sting remedy. Poison Ivy and jewelweed usually grow near each other, so you won’t have to look far to find it. Chew it up, crush it, and then spread the pulp over the affected area. We don’t recommend it as a substitute for visiting a doctor, but it’s a useful aid if you’re deep in the woods.

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Last modified: July 14, 2016

2 Responses to " Pop! "

  1. Robert Hudson says:

    I would like to have some jewelweed in my back yard to help attract humming birds. I cant find it at the nurseries. Do you know anyplace i can get some. Maybe come to dig up a few sprouts? I know i should dib any up i any conservation areas! Thanks, Bob Hudson, Mississauga

    • Karlee May says:

      Jewelweed is best started from seed. It is an annual and likely will not last if transplanted, and regrows new each year from seeds. Once you have some it easily re-seeds itself. It is best found in wetlands and along the banks of streams, look for the small pods. The pods do explode when ripe so you have to try to capture the seeds somehow either closing your hand around the seedpod to catch the seeds or putting it into a paper bag before touching it. Scatter them now or in the fall and watch for them to come up next spring. Keep the area moist.

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