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Thread: Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

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    Default Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

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    Some of you may already be familiar with this almost miraculous plant, but for those of you who are not, there is nothing better to soothe a skin rash or irritation. If you are going to head out into the forest you should know how to spot poison ivy, poison oak, and jewelweed. A handy little fact is that they usually grow in the same viscinity, if not right next to one another.

    I led a small edible and medicinal plant walk yesterday morning. Our group came upon a very large patch of jewelweed. They had all heard of, and most had suffered at the leaf of, poison ivy, but not one of them knew about the best cure available bar none. I showed them how you can mash the leaves and stem and apply the juice directly to your skin to instantly soothe irritation. As many witnessed forst hand, it soothes insect bites almost immediately.

    I told them how you can preserve and keep it for use throughout the year by making Jewelweed vinegar. I typically fill a quart mason jar with finely chopped leaves and stems. I then fill the jar with apple cider vinegar, and put it in the cupboard for a month, making sure to shake it once a day for the first week or so. After the month, pour the contents of the jar through a strainer lined with cheesecloth and into a large bowl. Clean out the mason jar, and pour the vinegar back into the jar. Seal the jar, and it will keep in a cupboard for about a year. This vinegar is amazing at soothing insect stings and bites. You can also make a pretty effective natural insecticide by mixing the vinegar with water and some lavendar, catnip, or sage oil, and put this mixture into a little spray bottle. I can post the recipe for anyone who might be interested.
    Happy Foraging

    Kirk

    Livingafield.com - Information Concerning Edible And Medicinal Uses For Common Great Lakes Area Plants, As Well As Information On Numerous Aspects Of Outdoor Living And Survival.


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    Sorry aldankirk, I had to remove your web site from the body of your post. That's a violation of the forum rules. It's fine in your signature and actually a benefit to you to have it there because it will be displayed every time you post. Prohibiting it from the main body of a post just helps cut down on spam. Thanks for understanding.

    I've had great success in propagating Jewelweed in my yard. I gathered some wild seeds two years ago and planted them next to my rain barrels where the ground is generally damp but not wet. They've gone crazy. Here they are earlier this year. They are about 3.5 feet tall now.

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    We have many, many posts on jewelweed. You can use the search tool at the top to find some if you wish.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I truly need to find out just what this looks like around here.
    Seems even pictures and drawings vary from place to place.

    I have so many different "weeds' at "The Place" most of which are dealt with by brush hog or weed whacker, may be cutting down a the "secret to eternal life" for all I know.
    Actually had thought of inviting a horticultural or medical plant guy/gal, from tha local collage, ( and pay them) to come out and let me know what all this stuff is.
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    Jewelweed should be in bloom about now even where you live (it is here). The flower hangs from a single stem that attaches to the middle of the flower rather than the end as most plants do. Think of a pendant on a necklace and you have the idea (Jewel weed get it?). The flower grows a lot like Nasturtium so if you know what that looks like then you'll know what the Jeweweed flower looks like. It's just about half the size though. Also known as Touch Me Knot because the seed pods explode when you touch them. Quite literally. there is a little coiled spring inside the seed pod and when you touch it the spring is triggered. It's really kinda cool that nature built it that way. Seed pods are not on yet.

    Look on the edge of woods where there is damp ground but not wet ground. It likes moisture but it doesn't like to have wet feet. It also likes shade or filtered sun so the edges of woods are where you generally find it. You can also find it in the valley of woods if it's more meadow like with overgrowth to shade it. Only two kinds. Jewelweed has the plain yellow flowers and Spotted Jewelweed is sort of yellow/orange with little dots or spots inside the flower.

    Check out WildMan's site. He has some good pics on the various stages. I can't tell them from anything else when they are small. Look closely at the seed pods on WildMan's site and you can see the coil.

    http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Pla...Jewelweed.html

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Here's some Indiana Jewelweed from our 1st Jamboree.

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    Senior Member Sparky93's Avatar
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    I didn't know jewel weed and touch me not were the same thing, we got that stuff growen all over our property. Luckily (so far, nock on wood, etc. etc.) I've never been affected by poisen ivy even though i've touched lots of times before. Reminds me of the dual survival episode where cody was walkin bearfoot through poison ivy in kentucky.
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    Some folks are more susceptible to the oil than others. I had never had it until two years ago. I replaced a wooden rail fence and some of the posts had ivy on them. I carried them across my right forearm and smushed (yeah, that's a word. It's my word) it into my forearm. Sure enough, I had poison ivy the next day. but only about three or four "spots" and they weren't very bad.

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    I'd like to point out that jewelweed can cause skin irritation in some people as well. It's important to do a skin test to make sure you aren't allergic before rubbing it all over yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    I truly need to find out just what this looks like around here.
    Seems even pictures and drawings vary from place to place.

    I have so many different "weeds' at "The Place" most of which are dealt with by brush hog or weed whacker, may be cutting down a the "secret to eternal life" for all I know.
    Actually had thought of inviting a horticultural or medical plant guy/gal, from tha local collage, ( and pay them) to come out and let me know what all this stuff is.
    There are two very distinct characteristics that make identification quite easy. First of all the oval shaped leaf has gently rounded toothed leaf margins, and comes to a point at both ends. The second is where Jewelweed gets its common name; the leaves bead water. In the morning, you will notice the leaf surface covered with water droplets which gives it the appearance of being jeweled. As a quick field test, simply pour a little water on a leaf. It should bead and run off. the stem of the plant is also hollow. And finally, if you crush a leaf and roll it between your fingers, you will notice that it makes quite a bit of liquid relatively quickly.

    If you have a plant with a hollow stem, an oval shaped leaf with gently rounded toothed margins, which also beads water, even without the pretty orange or yellow flower, it is easy to tell you have Jewelweed.
    Happy Foraging

    Kirk

    Livingafield.com - Information Concerning Edible And Medicinal Uses For Common Great Lakes Area Plants, As Well As Information On Numerous Aspects Of Outdoor Living And Survival.

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    The whole plant will also "tremble" at the slightest breeze. Once you see it "tremble" you'll understand.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Probably afraid that it'll get kicked in the jewels during the breeze.
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    This heat has been pretty tough on mine. They are dropping leaves like crazy. I've been keeping them watered every day and that certainly helps. As Aldankirk pointed out they have a large hollow stem. Me thinks it's a straw.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Gonna have to do a reconnoiter next time I head out to "The Place", next week, haven't noticed any poison ivy around, just wild parsnip, and non poisonous sumac.
    Now if I can just get by the bugs.......

    PS, anyone collect the seeds?
    Last edited by hunter63; 07-22-2011 at 05:10 PM. Reason: added stuff
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    Seed collecting could be intersting as the flower explodes when you touch it throwing seeds everywhere. Hence the name, Touch me not. They really do like wet feet, as they typically grow near the edge of water or in low wooded areas with broken to not quite full sun.

    One of my all time favorite everyday medicinals, great for skeeter bites.

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    Hunter - We collected ours by just placing a baggy over the seed pods and tapping them. They would explode inside the baggy and we were able to retain them that way. The seed is almost like pepper it's so small.

    RWC - It's probably just semantics but wet feet generally refers to standing water. Weeping Willow and Bald Cypress are two examples of plants that like wet feet. Damp soil is just that. It maintains a "wet" condition but it is not in standing water per se.

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    Senior Member wareagle69's Avatar
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    i have tried to make them explode, never seen it yet
    interesting enough i just went out to the ditch to pick some for the wife, she is red on her stomach either from the iodine orthe pain meds, she is itchy, i used aloe on her this am but went for the jewweed this evening and found them to be dry, hmmm wonder if when they flower they dry out, this is something i have used many a time to show the whole nettle thing to folks ut now am trying to recall ifn it was before they flowered
    always be prepared-prepare all ways
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  17. #17

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    Ours get drier later in the season, I was thinking around mid August, and they don't seem to work as good for skeeter bites then. I think they are just starting to shut down.

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    Ours are looking pretty bad. Hardly any blooms this year and no seed pods yet. I think the intense heat has them messed up.

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    The picture I posted was taken this week. The blooms are wonderful, probably the best I have seen in years. The patch I photographed was huge, and just about every plant had a bloom.
    Happy Foraging

    Kirk

    Livingafield.com - Information Concerning Edible And Medicinal Uses For Common Great Lakes Area Plants, As Well As Information On Numerous Aspects Of Outdoor Living And Survival.

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