Other names: orange jewelweed, spotted jewelweed, spotted touch-me-not, orange balsam
Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)
Range: Saskatchewan to Newfoundland; south to Georgia; west to Oklahoma; north to Missouri.
Native Habitat: Shaded wetlands.
Bloom Time: July to October
This family has only two genera: Impatiens (more than a thousand species) and Hydrocera (1 species). What gets confusing to me is that balsam for me is a fir, but we’re talking flowers here. Balsams are generally the tropical species while the temperate species are what we call jewelweed, impatiens, or busy lizzies (in Britain, which I’ve always gotten a huge kick out of.)
What makes these flowers fun is where the “touch-me-not” common name comes in. When these are ripe (the fruit are skinny, long green pods), the seeds go shooting out if you just lightly brush them. Hours of entertainment for kids. (Or college students wandering around the school’s arboretum… Ah, to be young and easily amused again.) Good thing too – this is an annual, so it needs to get seeds out.
This species will attract hummingbirds, but bees are also important pollinators.
Supposedly, the sap from this plant soothes poison ivy and stinging nettle.
This species has been exported out of North America and introduced to Europe.
Locations in Photos:
Mackworth Island State Park
Birch Point State Park
Crescent Beach State Park