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
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
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 by 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.

Posted by: mathew - Minneapolis
on: 2016-01-29 22:36:36

Found along the trails at the quaking bog in theodore wirth park

Posted by: Kay - Maplewood
on: 2016-08-16 19:43:29

Suddenly appeared on my sloped yard - a welcome change from the many invasives that grow there. I'm happy to have a native that will help fight the purple loosestrife, buckthorn, thistle, garlic mustard, reed canary grass, greater celandine and black raspberries.

Posted by: Scott M - South St. Paul
on: 2017-07-03 15:55:49

I first saw this beautiful plant at a MN State Park in southeast Minnesota many years ago. About five years ago, I found a fre plants growing in our backyard. They have now spread to several locations in our yard and number in the hundreds. One of these locations is separated by a mowed lawn so I don't understand how they got to that location. Could squirrels and chipmunks be spreading the seeds? Regardless, I'm happy to see them growing in our yard.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2017-07-03 16:04:08

Scott, Impatiens is an annual and reproduces strictly by seed. The little pods explode at the slightest touch when ripe, ejecting the seed quite a distance. While critters do spread the seed, even wind or rain can trigger the explosion.

Posted by: James F. - Rochester
on: 2017-08-07 18:18:56

Found these plants in the back yard, growing along side the neighbor's fence.

Posted by: Martha D - Eden Prairie
on: 2017-08-21 23:01:29

Found some of these growing at the Richard T. Anderson Conservation Area on old Hwy 212 in Eden Prairie.

Posted by: Kynn - chippewa co stonehame township
on: 2017-08-24 15:03:30

growing along old creek bank

Posted by: Chris - Duluth
on: 2017-08-28 15:49:11

There are some along the St. Louis River on the Western Waterfront Trail.

Posted by: Tammy D - Faribault, Southern Rice County.
on: 2017-09-01 20:41:08

Found this plant along side my hydrangea. I have pulled them out in the past as I thought the translucent plant was a weed. Glad I did not see these this year. They are a nice sight to see with the flower on it. I found it on page 3 scrolling thru. Thank you for the site.

Posted by: Suzanne S - Bloomington
on: 2017-09-04 17:31:06

I found this plant growing under my fir trees in my backyard.

Posted by: jean n - olmsted cty, rochester
on: 2017-09-07 14:15:17

I have seen these for a few years, growing in the shady spots on the Douglas Trail between Rochester and Pine Island. Lots of them, but better than wild parsnip (which is also there).

Posted by: Cami B - Nerstrand, MN
on: 2017-09-07 22:12:42

Found in the woods of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Posted by: Senchu punyamurthula - Prior Lake (Spring Lake Twnshp)
on: 2018-01-11 18:50:57

I've seen these touch me nots in our slopy backyard leading to boggy pond.

Posted by: Joseph Capecchi - Kanebec ounty
on: 2018-07-07 12:30:35

On the shoreline of Knife Lake

Posted by: Mary Rotunno - Shorewood
on: 2019-08-31 19:38:46

The bees and hummingbirds love this plant, we bought a home 3 years ago and I didn’t know what jewel weed was and it grew everywhere near our marsh. Happy to see it.

Posted by: Paul Henjum - Apple Valley
on: 2019-12-06 20:50:43

This species has become an aggressive "weed" along the edge of our woods. It self seeds and the mice like to collect the seeds and gather them into caches for the winter and in the spring they germinate in thick clumps. It appears that some flowers do not have the showing petals but still produce the pods with seeds that "explode" when disturbed spreading the relatively larges seeds in all directions. This species was introduced to our area in the delivery of black dirt collect from an area around the Missipie river. We have been calling it "Big Feeters" because of is large interesting root that comes off the base of the stem which are often reddish in color. Deer eat this plant to the ground.

Posted by: Jeanne Adams - West Lakeland MN
on: 2020-05-11 18:22:45

This grew on the side of my foundation . I have 50 seedlings. I will trans plant them . Fun.

Posted by: Kendra Olson - Otter Tail County
on: 2020-05-12 12:26:17

We have a lot of this in a marshy area on our lot every year. I'm surprised Otter Tail County isn't included on the map showing this flower's distribution.

Posted by: anonynous - Residential, Greater East Side, Saint Paul, MN
on: 2020-07-11 07:22:43

I was glad to be able to identify this plant as a Minnesota native. I'm trying to encourage as many native plants as I can.

Posted by: Jay Lawrence - Rochester
on: 2020-08-22 19:07:08

I've been calling these "fake burning nettle". Never knew the real name until now. The plants are the same size and shape as burning nettle, and they grow side-by-side. The leaves are also very similar, except the touch-me-not doesn't have the burning hairs. Both plants "rule the forest" in southeast MN during the growing season. It is difficult to walk thru the forest because the burning nettle will get you. In the Fall, they die down -- then you can walk anywhere.

Posted by: Mary Lundeen - Vadnais Heights
on: 2022-08-15 14:41:52

These are all over the wetland/bog on either side of the grassy walking path in a nearby park. Are they fragrant? Something was emitting a lovely aroma. The bees were having a nectar feast.

Posted by: Jay Rod - Afton State Park
on: 2022-09-12 01:14:55

Seen along the "Trout Brook Loop" in Afton State Park the first week in September. Orchid-like and gorgeous. Thanks to your great website I was able to identify it.

Posted by: Brian J McIntyre - Pope County
on: 2023-06-14 09:15:28

I think this is the species that I now have growing throughout my botanical gardens. I am not totally sure however, and it could actually be I. capensis. The reason I don't know as of yet, is because they have so far, never bloomed. They only make the seed pods that eventually explode and spread more seed. I have looked for any flowers morning, noon and night throughout the season, and they are just never there. Only the explosive seed pods! I find this so strange and therefore, cannot identify the species yet. I believe it is I. pallida because of the size of the plants. They are very juicy, succulent and gigantic plants! I have no idea where these came from, but they are native to Minnesota, and definitely welcome in my gardens. I am hoping they will bloom this year and I will finally be able to make a definite identification. I don't know how the plant can make the seed pods without ever blooming. Very bizarre. Am I missing something perhaps?

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2023-06-14 15:09:10

Brian, a quick web search brought up a scientific paper from 1994 that describes Impatiens pallida as having both chasmogamous (the yellow flower we know and love) and cleistogamous (petal-less, self-fertilizing) flowers. You must have the latter.

Posted by: B. McIntyre - Pope County
on: 2023-07-27 16:38:09

Update: Thank you for your earlier reply and the link as well, Katie. You are correct about the plants being cleistogamous. For some reason, this year, they are actually making chasmogamous flowers of a deep golden colour with no spots. This is the first time I have seen these particular Impatiens pallida plants bloom, and they are very beautiful. I really like these a lot. So do the pollinators. One of the plants has decided to get very large. I am 6'1", and this plant is as tall as me, and has a trunk (yes, trunk!) about the size of my wrist. Not sure how normal that is for these native plants, but it is very impressive yet bizarre nonetheless!

Posted by: Merp - Barns Bluff Red Wing
on: 2023-09-07 09:15:06

Beautiful on the trails

Posted by: Anita - Ramsey County - White Bear Lake
on: 2023-09-22 11:06:59

First appeared in summer 2022 among my shoreline rocks on Bald Eagle Lake. Have no idea how it got there. Currently stands about 4 feet tall. Wondering if I will regret allowing it to prosper?

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