Nature studies

(impatiens species)

This herbaceous plant has distinctive succulent, translucent, hollow, stem, powdered with a pale blue-green, waxy bloom and partitioned by nodes, making the plant easy to identify. Jewelweed grows up to five feet tall, branching toward the top, and toughening with age. There’s a clear, watery liquid inside, especially in the nodes.

The delicate, long-oval, long-stalked, leaves are 1—4-1/2″ long, with a few rounded teeth. The upper leaves are alternate, the lower ones opposite. They’re water-repellent, so they look like they’re covered with tiny jewels (raindrops) after it rains, accounting for the name jewelweed.

Fun facts

  • If you submerge the leaves in water, their undersides will turn silvery
  • In late summer and fall, you can surround the ripe seedpods with your hand, and grab them tightly. The seeds will pop into your hand, and you can eat them, discarding the coiled “springs.” some say they are walnut flavored
  • Jewelweed contains two methoxy-1, four napthoquinine—an anti-inflammatory and fungicide that’s the active ingredient of Preparation H.
  • jewelweed juice is helpful for bee and wasp stings, mosquito bites, athlete’s foot, ring worm, nettle stings, minor burns, cuts, eczema, acne, sores, and poison ivy.

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