I first noticed Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis/pallida) out at Churchill Park in Glen Ellyn. We were on a nature walk geared for kids, and our instructor showed us how Jewelweed seeds will pop out when you touch the flower, hence one of it's common names, Touch-Me-Not.
I was tipped off to this plant after posting a picture of it on a previous blog post. I've got it in my yard, and before it flowered, considered ripping it out. After learning more about it's benefits, to both humans and wildlife, I've got to keep it.
Jewelweed is best known for it's ability to heal poison ivy, poison oak and stinging nettle, bee stings, mosquito bites, and other skin irritations. Just break off a stem, and rub the oils on the itchy spot. If you do a lot of hiking or camping, this is a good plant to know. More info on poison ivy relief with Jewelweed. I've got the yellow variety (pallida), which is said to be less effective than the orange variety (capensis).
Pollinators love this plant, and it is an important nectar source for migrating hummingbirds. The patch in my yard receives lots of visitors, including bees, hummingbirds, and hummingbird moths. While sitting on our front porch an afternoon a few days ago, the kids and I watched hummingbird moths going from flower to flower, feeding on the nectar. Check it out: