One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Do you recognize this plant in full fall bloom?

Hint: It’s now four feet tall after its summer’s growth.

Give us a guess in the comments!

~~~

We had a correct guess today–this is Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis.

It is the wild relative of the garden annual plant Impatients that you humans buy for your shady yards. But guess what? The wild jewelweed seeds prolifically enough that it should come back every year–if your ground is moist and the light is set-shady.

The beautiful orange flowers are visited by many insects, and while nUtmeg and I were out, a pair of hummingbirds!

As our commenter mentioned, jewelweed has many uses. The Native Americans knew that crushing the leaves and stems and applying the juice would relive the itch of poison ivy and nettles, which happens to be found in moist areas as well, so should be handy. The sap also can be used as an anti-fungal.

Please note that we are squirrels and this folklore is not intended to be medical advice!

Check out more about Jewelweed on the US Forest Service page.

 

Thirsty Thursday

Well folks, we’ve had a fair amount of rain this year in northern Virginia. The drainage ditches seem to have fresh trickles, good for a quick sip.

drainage ditch on Reston National Golf Course

Enough rain has fallen even the grass has stayed green. Not only on our nearby golf course where the humans water, but also where they don’t, like the shrub patches.

Shrub patch on Reston National Golf Course

See that orange peeking out?

Jewelweed

Jewelweed. That water-lover is still blooming in September! That’s how you know we’ve had enough rain!

 

Thirsty Thursday

We’ve had a light freeze here in Virginia, which has taken out the more sensitive plants. You folks might remember the native impatiens, Jewelweed, we have in the East. It is one of the first to be affected by any type of cold. From this large stand of plants, most of the fleshy stalks have freeze-dried and keeled over, leaving one yellowing plant.

Jewelweed dying out

Pond plants are dying away, too. Ol’ Wally here hasn’t gotten his old bones over to the golf course pond, but this here backyard pond is representative of what you see in the bigger ponds here abouts.

backyard pond

The plants are all but gone and the aquatic life–both the wild and domestic varieties–are slooowing way down for the colder months. The fish will go to deeper water, and the frogs and turtles bury themselves. You humans, too, should take this as a sign. You all don’t need to dig in too deep, but you should prepare for winter.

Thirsty Thursday

“Round about where Hickory and Nutmeg visited those Milkweed plants, there was a drainage pond, partly filled with water from some rain we had. Ol’ Wally here was pleased to see many native plants doing well, including cattails and a nice crop of Jewelweed growing where it does best—with its feet wet.

Jewelweed in a pond

J is for Jewelweed on Thirsty Thursday

a-to-z-letters-j

Well folks, I managed to do it again this week–integrate the Blogging A To Z Challenge letter into my regular column about water. Along one of the backyard ponds in our neighborhood the owners have a good growth of native Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis. 

Jewelweed by Pond

Jewelweed

They’re only little sprouts now, but growing quick in this damp soil, like they would along a woodland stream here in Virginia. In another month those plants will be 3 to 5 feet tall and sporting flowers.

Jewelweed

The hummingbirds like those Jewelweed flowers, but I think you humans appreciate the plant more for what it does if you happened to run into yesterday’s plant. Yep, that’s right, squashing the juicy stems of jewelweed onto where poison ivy touched your skin does a bit of good in washing away the oils that cause that skin rash you humans seem prone to.

Jewelweed

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, is a native type of Impatient species growing along the nearby streams and in moist places. The grows new each year from seeds and gets quite tall, 3 to 5 feet. Miz Flora says the flowers can be overlooked, so wanted me to give you close views.

Hummingbirds do not miss the hanging flowers.

Many folktales tell of being able to cure poison ivy by rubbing your skin with broken Jewelweed stalks. Miz Flora says she can’t verify that, not having bare skin.

Hmm.