Appalachia Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Jewelweed the Perfect Fall Color


“I love Jewelweed. The perfect Fall color. It does have a fascinating way of propagating itself. Impatiens also do the same, quickly popping back and spitting the seeds everywhere.

Some plants are just so interesting and fun to grow and watch. Teaching children the different ways of plants can get them interested in nature at an early age.

One of my first learning experiences about plants was my Grandmothers patch of “four o’clocks”! As a little girl I would watch the clock in the late afternoon hoping to catch them when they opened around four o’clock. I thought that was the most amazing thing I ever heard of. I also enjoyed her Sweet Williams, the old timey ones. I thought why does she love these, they don’t smell sweet to me only spicy and how did they get their name Sweet William??

Then later in my elementary/junior high school years and many flowers later, my Mother acquired a Night Blooming Cereus. It grew and grew then one summer night after a few years, a bud formed on the plant. I stayed up as late as I could but missed the bloom. Only the closed blossom remained the next morning. I vowed never to miss it again, and I didn’t. One year it had so many buds and we timed the blooming to the exact night and the whole neighborhood sat around under a willow to wait for the intoxicating blooms to open. I will never forget when all those blooms started opening among all the conversations going on and the many cups of coffee and laughter.

By this time I was a “swear to my soul” when I grow up and have a place of my own I will grow flowers and plants especially unusual ones. One year lately, my son wondered why I made such a fuss over a little orange trout lily on a spindly stem. When he was over again in a day or so I showed him a closed blossom. See the way it just twists up, just like it has bloomed and wrung itself out like a dishrag. I told him I thought that was the most amazing thing, for it seems on the Trout Lily it is more pronounced than other flower blooms…”Hearts a’bustin” is another unusual plant that shows off when it decides to share it’s seeds with the earth in the Fall. They are eye catchers and the birds just love ours on the driveway woodland edges.”

—B. Ruth – September 2015


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    September 27, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Mama had Sweet Williams in her flower bed. I saw some at the campground and it brought back memories.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    What a lovely post from B. Ruth! Our family used to sit on my Grandmother’s big plant-filled porch to watch the Night Blooming Cereus (she called it Se-ries). I still have plants from the original cuttings and they are still blooming!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    I enjoy all kinds of beautiful flowers. There are so many different kinds and I love flowers. I just planted some impatiens today around my mailbox. I have 3 big mums setting on my front porch.

  • Reply
    Clyde Kessler
    September 26, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Some of my relatives of my paternal grandfather’ referred to jewel weed as water weed. He told me he used it to treat a hound that a wound on its leg, the wound might have been caused by a snake bite. He told me this about 1958 or 1959, so I might be mixing up something. My maternal grandmother said it was good for soothing the itch of poison ivy.

  • Reply
    J. Wayne Fears
    September 26, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    Last week I was camped at an old homeplace high in the mountains of North Carolina. The edges of the ancient forest opening were laced with jewelweed. Each day dozens of hummingbirds would fight for the privilege of feeding on the sweet nectar, preparing for the long journey south. It was entertainment at its best.

  • Reply
    Gaye Blaine
    September 26, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Jewel seed is said to be a big help with poison oak/ivy blisters and itching. I have never tried it because jewel grew in shade and damp places; our land was sunny and dry. One summer I had poison oak so bad the back of my knees swelled so it was hard to sit down. Daddy, ever resourceful, walked about 12 miles round trip to a black smith shop. He fetched some “slack” water and had me dab that on the blisters several times a day. It may or may not have helped but I healed in about a week. It was a l-o-n-g week believe me.

  • Reply
    Allison B
    September 26, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Yes, my cousins and i always called them ‘touch me not’s when we were growing up. They grew out near out Granddads woodshed, and we loved to find ‘big fat pods’ to touch!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 26, 2020 at 9:57 am

    The jewelweed is well named (except maybe the “weed” part). The red, yellow and orange flowers are jewel- like. I’m thinking you have a line of them alongside your driveway. In a pinch, the juice of their stems is good on itches.

    Another interesting evening blooming wildflower is evening primrose. They open between sundown and dusk. The most common has medium yellow flowers but there is also a pink kind. They have a cross-shape structure in their center.

    We have lots of 4 o’ clocks here. The big moths of the tomato (also called the “tobacco”) hornworm comes to them at night. They can be watched with a red light but they hide from a white light. Their eyes glow when the light strikes them just right and they make an interesting sound when they zoom by your head.

    I seem to have poor luck here with flowers. Between deer and shade and drought I lose more than I keep alive.

    • Reply
      aw griff
      September 26, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      Ron, I think the evening primrose is what my Dad called wild beet and picked as a wild green.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    September 26, 2020 at 9:35 am

    If anyone in the comments called this plant a “Touch Me Not”, I missed it. We always referred to them as such. You could
    touch the pod and it would “explode” dispersing the seed.
    Jewelweed – the Touch me Not Plant that Heals | GardensAll
    The Touch Me Not Plant. This plant of course is Jewel Weed, Impatiens capensis. It has a confusing nickname of the “touch me not” plant. So… it’s a remedy for poison ivy, but shouldn’t be touched…? What?! Some have said that the touch-me-not title should belong to the plants for which jewelweed is a remedy.

    • Reply
      September 26, 2020 at 9:48 am

      Sandford-I’ve heard them called touch me nots too 🙂

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      September 26, 2020 at 4:40 pm

      I learned that Touch-Me-Nots were Jewel Weed from the Blind Pig. I knew they looked like my mother’s Sultanas and turns out they are both in the impatiens family. To me they are and always will be Touch-Me-Nots.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2020 at 9:25 am

    I love and appreciate the story about how simple things can have such an impact if we stop to enjoy them. I even have wonderful memories of four o’clocks. I loved the fragrance as I sat on the porch at my once upon a time home in Louisiana. I tried in vain to grow them in WV, but seems my green thumb limited to vegetables. I have always loved flowers more for their fragrance than their beauty. Thanks to B Ruth for that story.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    September 26, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Lovely! One of my favorite childhood memories is of the night Mama woke me about midnight and I went in my pajamas with her to a neighbor’s house to sit and watch a Night Blooming Cereus blossom open! And my best friend Patsy and I often sat and hoped to see Four O’Clocks open at precisely 4:00 p.m., but we never did see them. How I would love to see your beautiful jewelweed, Tipper. Thank you for the photo!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2020 at 9:11 am

    The Angel Trumpet is another flower that puts on a show when it opens at night. You can almost hear them struggle as they come to life and show their pretty faces. I heard their seeds are the most poisonous on earth. To keep the animals safe, I sprayed weed killer on the 20-25 plants that grew behind my garage. Only one plant remains on the side of the garage where I can keep an eye on it as it starts dropping it’s seeds.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2020 at 9:06 am

    I have two hearts-a-busting bushes in my yard . They don’t bloom every year but, when they do, they’re amazing.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 26, 2020 at 9:06 am

    I miss reading B. Ruth’s daily comments and frequent guest posts. Methinks the lady is a genius!

    • Reply
      aw griff
      September 26, 2020 at 12:23 pm

      ED, me too!

  • Reply
    gayle larson
    September 26, 2020 at 8:30 am

    I have a night blooming Ceres that is about 35 years old. I have to cut it back a little each year just to get it in the door for the winter.
    The blooms are beautiful and the whole house smells good after it blooms. It is so big now it has to go into the storage room for the winter. It gets lots of lite during the day and complete darkness at night which I learned is the secret to getting lots of blooms. Unfortunately I now don’t smell it when it blooms.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 26, 2020 at 8:06 am

    A big thanks to B Ruth, what a beautiful description she gives of her love affair with flowers. I thing it is heathy for the soul to have things we are passionate about. God appreciates our expressions of love for his creations.
    I walk most mornings and I see such beautiful flowers on the way and wonder at how many different ones there are and the rainbow of colors. It feeds my soul!

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    September 26, 2020 at 7:01 am

    These memories of days and flowers gone by are a treasure to me, Tipper!….B. Ruth’s story is comforting and exciting….It makes me want to know more about nature and it’s ability to unite neighbors in such a beautiful way!….Thank you for sharing…I truly appreciate what you do to keep the good things in life alive!

  • Leave a Reply