Jewelweed, a native diamond in our garden!

August 24, 2014  •  1 Comment

I've had a fascination with Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) for years. I remember visiting Missouri Wildflowers Nursery with my friend, Sue, probably eight or ten years ago. I was hoping to buy some, but Merv Wallace, the owner, looked at me like I was a bit tetched. "There's some up there by the shed if you want to try to get some seed. But, it's also called 'spotted touch me not' because the capsule pops and seeds fly everywhere." So, we took a ziploc bag and managed to get some. It has reseeded every year in the shady, swampy thicket. (The sap is also said to be a natural remedy to the discomfort of poison ivy, which often grows near it.) 

This year, Jewelweed decided it wanted to grow in the garden. We've had the moisture, I just wasn't sure how it would do in more sun. Well, several small patches are flowering very well and the young hummingbirds love it! 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

They have been cavorting in and around these patches for days now. They can slip in low and the dominant males don't see them. Sometimes, they even perch on a stem to get nectar, conserving a bit of nervous energy.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched on Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched on Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

This one sees a small flying insect, (just to the right of my logo) but decides the snack is just out of reach. Ruby-throated Hummingbird sees a small flying insect while perched on Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)Ruby-throated Hummingbird sees a small flying insect while perched on Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Ah, Jewelweed brings such joy to my garden! It has been said that Jewelweed more than likely got its name from its leaves, not its flowers. During the night, the plant will expel excess water through a process called guttation. These beads of water form on the edge of the leaves and sparkle in the morning sun. It begins blooming as the hummingbirds are starting their migration to their winter homes in Central America.

Dew on Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)Dew on Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

And, who can dispute the beauty of the ruby-throats that are attracted to its nectar?

Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)


Comments

Jo Alwood(non-registered)
Lovely shots, Margy. You get bonus points for getting out to take them in this heat. We have jewel weed everywhere at the edge of the woods, but until it cools down a tad, I'm just setting the camera on the hummingbird feeder and opting for the Lazy Lady's way of getting footage. All your shots are crisp, but I especially like the one where the female looks skyward.
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