Appalachia Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia


Jewelweed in appalachia

Jewelweed grows in a ditch at the bottom of my driveway. Generally the plants grow in shady damp places and can reach 2-3 feet tall. The juice of the plant is said to be a natural cortisone and is an old time remedy for poison oak, poison ivy, bee stings, and bug bites.

Jewelweed for posion oak

Jewelweed is sometimes called Wild Touch Me Not because once the plant begins to produce seed pods the slightest touch will send seeds flying in all directions.

Jewelweed is a wild impatient

According to one of my favorite old book about wildflowers, Wildflowers Worth Knowing by Neltje Blanchan, Jewelweed is also called Spotted Touch Me Not, Silver Cap, Wild Balsam, Lady’s Eardrops, Snap Weed, and Wild Lady’s Slipper.

Blanchan also has this to say about the plants:

Distribution–Nova Scotia to Oregon, south to Missouri and Florida.

These exquisite, bright flowers, hanging at a horizontal, like jewels from a lady’s ear, may be responsible for the plant’s folk-name; but whoever is abroad early on a dewy morning, or after a shower, and finds notched edges of the drooping leaves hung with scintillating gems, dancing, sparkling in the sunshine, sees still another reason for naming this the Jewel-weed. In a brook, pond, spring, or wayside trough, which can never be far from its haunts, dip a spray of the plant to transform the leaves into glistening silver. They shed water much as the nasturtiums do.

Jewelweed is medicinal

Jewelweed is a plant I’ve been familiar with my whole life. When I see the striking orange blooms I’m reminded of small children placing their hands in mine to go for a walk.

I was one of those little girls who was born wishing she was a Mother. I loved my baby dolls more than some folks love their children-sad but true. I was no more than 12 when I started babysitting. I had a natural instinct when it came to entertaining kids. One of my never fail secret weapons was to take them on a walk. If Jewelweed and its rocketing seed pods were in season it made the walk all the better.

I wish I could see far back enough in time to know who taught me about Jewelweed and its entertaining seeds pods but I can’t. I’d like to think it was Pap’s Mother since I stayed with her when I was small but I can’t say for sure.

I can say for sure, she walked the same paths I do.



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  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 10, 2016 at 11:04 am

    What a beautiful flower and a purpose too!

  • Reply
    Suzann Ledford
    June 9, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    My aunt, Minnette Moffitt Moore, taught me about it when I was a little girl on Shooting Creek. After that, I kept sneaking down to the creek to check if any more pods were ready 🙂

  • Reply
    Missy Steiger
    June 7, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I’ve loved jewel weed since I was a child. I grew up in WV and when we moved our family back home from CA I had the pleasure of introducing my children to it!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2012 at 12:14 am

    I have loads of jewelweed but didn’t know there was a way to extract or preserve the juice. I wonder if the folks who mentioned “boiling” it could describe their methods a bit more? Much appreciated!

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    June 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    “Wildflowers Worth Knowing”. Now there’s a classic, and an iconic handbook. If yours is old it must be quite valuable. It’s more valuable as a treasure in your hands.
    The impatiens look like some you sent me a couple of years ago. They still bloom at the edge of my garden.
    As always, nice pictures.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    My dad taught me about “wild-touch-me-not” a long time ago. But it is so dry here that it is hard to find.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    When visiting up in Amish country, we bought some poison ivy relief gel from them. They said it has dried Jewelweed and Comfrey leaves stirred into petroleum jelly. We’ve used it now for years, and it works about as well as any over-the-counter medication.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    June 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I thought those looked like touch me nots. I never called them Jewelweed.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    June 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Jewelweed grows around my pond in the low lying areas. I showed my grandkids what the seed pods would do when you touch them. I enjoyed the look on their faces when I dropped one of the pods in their little hands. I did not know about the medicinal value. Thanks for the information.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Not a plant that we have in the UK, though we do have Himalayan Balsam which is also known as Touch-Me-Not and for the same reason. Those orange flowers are certainly quite something.

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    June 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Since I am battling a good case of poison ivy right now I sure wish I had some jewelweed : )

  • Reply
    Barb Johnson
    June 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    My friend makes a fabulous jewel weed soap we use for poison ivy…best stuff ever!

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    June 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I haven’t seen any of those around here in years but we used to pop them all the time..They are pretty and I always called them Wild Touch Me Nots..

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I forgot to congradulate you on
    going over the 1400 mark…Yea
    for our Blind Pig Writer…Ken

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    June 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    What a great memory and very interesting information! I will need to pay attention when I am walking here in the foothills rural area. I think I will look up more information.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    The pictures of the Touch-me-Not
    brings back memories of childhood.
    Sometimes it was my job to carry
    milk from our spring. We didn’t
    have a Frigadare until I was about
    a teenager, and I’d find myself
    mashing them touch-me-nots, all in
    a world of my own. Then I’d hear
    mama callin’ and come back to
    earth. Maybe that’s why Poison
    Oak never did bother me much…Ken

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 11:03 am

    We don’t have jewel weed here, but my Mom always used to break the horsetail weed in half and use that juice for nettle burn. In fact we went for a walk with our dogs yesterday and I saw a horsetail and reminded her of this.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I haven’t seen any of those plants in years. I must have popped hundreds of the seed pods in my younger days. My mom was very knowledgeable about plants and their benefits, but I don’t recall her ever using the Jewelweed for anything. Hmmm, now I’m wondering why I haven’t seen them around here. You know what I will be doing today.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Jewelweed always makes me smile, we have it all around our place! But I haven’t seen it blooming here yet…
    Another thing about Jewelweed, I have found it does not transplant very well, at least that is my experience. I’ve tried moving it from the woods to nearer to our cabin, but they have not taken…maybe because too far from the creek…

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    June 5, 2012 at 10:14 am

    When I was a child, I just loved touching the seed pods and watching them explode. (I still do as an adult!)
    My favorite thing to do with jewelweed is to use it as a dye. It produces a lovely peach color on wool.

  • Reply
    Bro. James
    June 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I’ve used jewelweed many times in years past to heal poison ivy. Worked (for me) better than over the counter stuff. Only the cortisone injections by a doctor worked any better. God gave us medicines in the plant world, sadly much has been forgotten, even by the Native Americans who once knew all that stuff.
    Bro. James

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    June 5, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Jewelweed is also a GREAT hummingbird plant. I’ve seen swarms of the little flying gems in jewelweed patches down home. We do have some here in Michigan, too. It’s somehow comforting to have some of the same wildflowers that I grew up with.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Thanks for sharing this, I will be looking for it!
    Smiles, Cyndi

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 8:25 am

    this is the first I have heard about jewelweed and never seen it. beautiful and useful. nothing better

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    June 5, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Those are beautiful plants. Now I want to go outside and see if it grows on my land…. guess I could buy some jewel weed soap from Linda K…..

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 5, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Love that plant…we have some growing down close to the wet weather spring….
    We have a tetch of rain this morning and I’ll betcha those flowers are sparkling…
    How many diffetent colors of wild beebalm have you seen?….
    Thank Tipper, Loved your post today with the reminence…
    You got your wish to be a Mother, two beautiful girls…and those walks that you and the girls do will never be forgotten…Did you have a set of twin dolls when you were a child…I did, but didn’t have the experience of twins or girls…..only wonderful boys! LOL

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I too, like Tim and his wife boil the juice and freeze –and I also make a jewel soap for that nasty poison ivy that seems to find me miles away from where it grows.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 7:42 am

    I don’t ever remember seeing orange ones in Missouri around here. I do think we might have yellow ones like Jim suggested.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 5, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Tipper, those are pretty little flowers. Nature gives us such lovely things. All we have to do is stop and look.
    Don’t you find the name Jewel Weed contradictory. Jewels are beautiful and sought after and weeds are ugly and destroyed, yet in this context they coexist just fine. A treasure among the trash.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    June 5, 2012 at 7:24 am

    There is anothe name that this plant also goes by – impatiens, which also happens to be the first of its latin names.
    While the orange-colored jewelweed is more common, there is also a yellow or pale jewelweed.
    Something that you didn’t mention that it acts as a bit of an antidote for is *#%>!! blankety-blank stinging nettle, which is a frequent, unwelcome neighbot in the Smokies.
    Another plant that is useful for the itches which also grows in the mountains, and like jewelweed prefers wet areas is bee balm. I’m not sure if bee balm grows at as low an elevation as Brasstown or not.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Tipper–The juice from stems of touch-me-nots is indeed an effective “pain easing” agent or antidote for a bunch of things–bee stings, poison ivy, and stinging nettles being among them. Conveniently, it almost always is found in close proximity to stinging nettles, which also like wet feet. Of course you aren’t supposed to so much as touch it in the Park, but I think if I blunder into a patch of stinging nettles I’ll just have to do a little discreet rule violating.
    Although orange hued flowers are most common, you will also find yellow touch-me-nots.
    As a boy I loved to fool with the ripe seed pods (late summer, usually September), and for that matter, when I’m walking along a trail while trout fishing, I still can’t resist tapping the pods which have turned from green to the ripeness of pale yellow. The plant, incidentally, is a grand one to give kids a practical nature lesson, and I suspect someone was doing just that on your first introduction.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 5, 2012 at 7:13 am

    They are beautiful flowers and should be cherished. We have them here in Florida too.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 7:11 am

    One of my favorite wildflowers. Their vibrant yellow and orange makes them easy to spot when they’re blooming.

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    June 5, 2012 at 6:29 am

    There was a patch alongside my maternal grandparent’s driveway. I think My dad enjoyed “popping” them as much as I did when we’d stop to visit. We have some yellow ones in this area, too.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    June 5, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Jewelweed is wonderful, I worked with a guy who had a real good case of poison ivy on his feet, he had gone to the store and bought everything he could to help, but it did not work, I gave him some jewelweed to try and when in 3 days it was dried up. My wife and I would gather the plant and boil the juice and freeze it in cubes to have for just an occasion. Mighty fine plant and pretty too…

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Perhaps a cure for tick bites or maybe to keep them at bay. But alas, I have no creek, no branch, no pond, no gurgling brook for the lovely Jewelweed to make it’s home. Doomed I am, to be dined upon daily by evil arachnids.
    Oh, for younger days! To Touch the Wild Touch Me Not! That would make a great name for a book.
    There is beauty in the plant and the names that describe it. Well maybe not Snap Weed.

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