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Jewelweed or Touch-me-nots

Like its cultivated cousin, the garden impatiens, jewelweed has soft semi-succulent stems and leaves, and prefers shade to bright sunlight. Although its yellow and orange flowers do not resemble the flowers of the garden impatiens, they do hang suspended from tiny stems as that plants flowers do. Jewelweed grows in huge clusters in shady forested areas, particularly where it can find moist soil. You can recognize these clusters immediately by the smooth and almost luminous appearance of the jewelweed leaves, and by the uniformity of the foliage. Jewelweed clumps manage to grow so densely that they prevents other plants from growing around. In the photos, you can see how jewelweed gets its first common name; water gathers on its cool leaves, and the droplets look like tiny jewels or beads of silver. Its second common name comes from the way this plant disperses its seeds. The little hanging structures on the plant are its seedpods. After the pods have grown to maturity, when touched, they burst with a little pop. Look for jewelweed the next time you walk in the woods- they can be awfully fun to play with!

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Page last updated Sat Oct 1 10:04:10 CDT 2005
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