Impatiens pallida (Pale Touch-me-not)

Plant Info
Also known as: Yellow Jewelweed, Yellow Touch-me-not
Family:Balsaminaceae (Touch-me-not)
Life cycle:annual
Habitat:part shade, shade; along shores, moist open woods
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:2 to 6 feet
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Groups of 1 to 3 flowers are in racemes on branching stems in the upper part of the plant. Flowers are tube or funnel shaped, 1 to 1½ inches long and nearly as wide as long, with a narrow spur at the back that bends down. Nectar is stored in the spur. There are 2 round broad lower lobes and a much smaller upper lobe. Color is yellow with reddish spots, especially near the base of the lower lobes, but the spots are sometimes absent.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 5 inches long and 3 inches wide, hairless, toothed, generally oval to egg-shaped, on stalks up to about 2 inches long. Attachment is alternate. Stems are heavily branched, hairless, light green, and may be translucent.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a slender pod about 1 inch long that bulges in the middle as the seed ripens. When ripe, the pod explodes at the slightest touch, sending seed in all directions.


Pale Touch-me-not is very similar to Spotted Touch-me-not, (Impatiens capensis) but is generally a larger plant with larger leaves that are more finely toothed, and larger flowers with a shorter spur at the back.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Ramsey counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Cherrie - Northern MN
on: 2010-07-01 14:04:28

I was told that if you take this flower & boil it in a small amount of water & then pour the water along with the flower into ice cube trays and once frozen take a cube out & rub it over poison ivy on a human body that the poison ivy disappears...

Posted by: Alison - St. Paul, MN
on: 2010-07-07 13:05:00

Pale touch-me-not can be found at Lilydale Regional Park by Pickerel Lake. Squeeze the liquid from the plant stem of touch-me-not on skin that is itching from stinging nettle.

Posted by: dnpw - West Medicine Lake Park
on: 2010-08-14 23:19:03

These are found on the West side of Medicine Lake at the beach.

Posted by: Mike - Lakeville, Dakota County
on: 2010-08-26 22:44:03

The edge of the wooded area behind our house is covered with these plants. First we've noticed them to such an extent.

Posted by: Laura - Redwood Falls
on: 2012-04-08 15:44:21

A nice big stand blooming SW of Fairfax in Minnesota River Valley (South side)

Posted by: Ben - Remer
on: 2014-07-30 17:17:53

I came across this flower on the NCT north of Remer. While I was admiring them a small spider the exact color of the flower emerged. Thanks for this great site, I was able to identify right away.

Posted by: Lynda - Red River east of the Hjemkomst Center
on: 2014-08-06 09:17:21

Thank you so much for your great web site! I found this beautiful flower on the slopes behind our apt. building while looking for my cat who was also enjoying the flora and fauna! I was unable to identify it on any other site!

Posted by: Mike - Anoka County, Coon Lake
on: 2014-08-06 13:28:39

These appeared this year along side my driveway. Never had them in the yard before in the last 25 years. These plants are tall and thick.

Posted by: cathy - Mahtomedi
on: 2015-07-01 19:35:09

I found a large number of these plants across the street in a wild area. They spread quickly from last year. The stem is hollow, I pulled a few of them out of the ground, it has a shallow root system and pulls out easily.

Posted by: Rachel - Lanesboro
on: 2015-07-14 19:40:04

We came across a few of these along the Root River Trail in Lanesboro. Your site is amazing! I never would have figured out what these were :)

Posted by: Andi - Faribault
on: 2015-08-10 23:32:46

We have a section of our backyard that was taken over by some Pale Touch-Me-Nots. At the end of last summer, a "privy archaeologist" excavated several spots back there. These flowers came up in two of the areas of disturbed soil.

Posted by: Pam - St. Paul, near Como Park
on: 2015-10-28 17:51:26

I what looks like a pink touch me not flower blooming now Oct. 28. It has three green leaves. It grows on slender stems from each leaf. It has a light throat with a top pedal, a dark pink tail at the back and 2 hot pink hearts at the lower bottom. It has the explosive pods of seeds like a touch me not that I've seen in orange flower. The ground has lots of Norway pine needles and it is in a wild woods in the back were I found it. The pink caught my eye, I'd not seen it before. We also have mottled leaf toad lily that grows wild here in the spring. What is this? I can't ID it on the web. Thank you for your time and effort.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-10-28 19:51:56

Pam, there is the non-native pink Impatiens balfourii that escapes cultivation and is becoming rather invasive. Maybe that's what you saw.

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