Impatiens capensis (Spotted Touch-me-not)
|Also known as:||Jewelweed|
|Habitat:||shade, sun; moist thickets, along shores|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||2 to 5 feet|
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Groups of 1 to 3 flowers are in racemes on branching stems in the upper part of the plant. Flowers are about 1 inch long and ½ to ¾ inch wide, tube or funnel shaped with a long narrow spur at the back the curls back under the tube. Nectar is stored in the spur. There are 2 round broad lower lobes and a much smaller upper lobe. Color is orange with a varying amount of red spots on the inside of the flower. The spots are sometimes absent altogether, or so many that the lower lobes look more red than orange.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are 1 to 3 inches long, up to 1½ inches wide, hairless, generally oval to egg-shaped, with widely spaced teeth around the edges and stems up to about 1 inch long. Attachment is alternate. The main stem is usually light green and can be transluscent, or nearly so.
Notes:Spotted Touch-me-not and Pale Touch-me-not are similar species, but the latter is overall a larger plant with noticeably larger flowers and the spur on its flower is much shorter. When I first came upon a Spotted Touch-me-not that didn't have red spots I thought it might be Pale Touch-me-not, but that was not the case. Once you see both plants you can immediately see the difference in the flowers. According to one of my field guides, Touch-me-not is an important nectar plant for hummingbirds. The stems also contain a juice that can relieve the sting from Poison Ivy or Stinging Nettle.
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Photos taken at Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton, MN, Battle Creek Regional Park, St Paul, MN and Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Shoreview, MN September 2006 and July-September 2009
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?