The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Going Native: Jewelweed

10 Comments

Maybe you have seen this “weed” growing along a roadside or the edge of the woods. It volunteered in my garden and its leaves were sort of pretty so I left it to see what it might grow into. It has returned for two years now, but I did not know what it was until I saw it bloom for the first time this year. Its flowers are very distinctive – drops of golden orange speckled with spots. It is native to the eastern US and parts of Canada and considered an annual. It belongs to the Balsaminaceae (Touch-Me-Not Family). It is commonly called touch-me-not because of its ripened seed pods that explode when touched – this I will just have to try. Better yet, it is a favorite nectar source for hummingbirds which I have witnessed in the past few weeks. And even better yet, if you are prone to poison ivy, just crush the stems of this plant and smear it on – supposedly very effective. (This, I hope I do not have to try.) I will encourage this beautiful native to continue to grow in my garden.

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Author: Kathy Sturr

Author of the Violet Fern blog, artist, and master gardener.

10 thoughts on “Going Native: Jewelweed

  1. This IS a Jewel!! Very pretty! Can't go wrong with natives.

  2. Nice color! And, if it can help with poison ivy, then it's precious! I am not sure I've ever seen it here in the NW.

  3. oh i love jewelweed. my favorite thing is how the seed pods will explode in your hand. it never gets old 🙂

  4. It's worth acquiring if I can convince the hummingbirds to come visit. I've only seen one hummer in my garden in 10 years. They're pretty rare up here.Christine in Alaska

  5. That juice is an instant cure for the burning of stinging nettles too! The yellow flowered variety is most common here. According to Wildman Steve Brill you can eat the seeds if you can catch them!

  6. Very interesting! I have heard of jewel weed, but I don't think I have seen it. Now I will know what to look for! Amazing that it is effective against poison oak. I wonder if some pharmaceutical company might use the juice to make a cream!

  7. Thanks for reminding me of one of jewel weed's medicinal uses. I just returned from a couple of weeks in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom and it seemed to be everywhere I went.

  8. Thanks for commenting! I hope you find room in your garden for this lovely plant – and not poison ivy – although it is a favorite food source for birds. Hmmm, maybe by keeping both, one could achieve balance. This is still blooming away and I am looking forward to those seed pods!

  9. What a beautiful plant.. I love the fact that it came up volunteer and you left it to see what it was! Great post-thanks for the info!

  10. Oh I also like to try if it is true touching the seed pods will explode or not.

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