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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

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