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jewelweed,common name for the Balsaminaceae, a family of widely distributed annual and perennial herbs. The principal genus is Impatiens, so named because of the sudden bursting of the mature seed capsules when touched. It is found in tropical and north temperate regions and is especially abundant and diverse in the mountains of India and Sri Lanka. A few species are commonly cultivated as ornamentals, e.g., the garden balsam (I. balsamina). I. noli-me-tangere, ranging from Europe to Japan, is the species most often called touch-me-not. The native American species (two in the East, three in the far West, and one in Central America) are known as jewelweeds, snapweeds, and touch-me-nots, the names being used interchangeably and sometimes applied to the whole genus. They grow in damp, shady places. The orange or yellow flowers dangle from the branches and have spurs filled with nectar that attracts bumblebees and hummingbirds. The orange sap is a traditional remedy for poison ivy and has also been used as a dye. Water on the leaves produces a silvery sheen that gives these plants the local name silverleaf. The jewelweed family is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information. , class Magnoliopsida, order Geraniales.
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The antidote plant to poison ivy, rashes, itching and fungal dermatitis. Apply to skin the raw juice or concentrated boiled juice of crushed stems. (leaves and flowers work too). You can also pour the boiled goo into ice cube trays and keep in freezer for a year. Whenever you have a skin rash, rub a cube on the irritation to experience healing. They grow near poison ivy, so you can just cut a jewelweed stem and rub the juice on the rash if you get a rash, or chew the leaves and flower a bit and smear it on. Yes you can eat them too. It tastes like butternut and can be used as a topping for deserts. There are no poisonous lookalikes. Flowers are yellow orange with a loop in the bottom and red or white spots in the open end which sometimes droops downwards. Antihistamine, anti-inflammatory. Also used for eczema, insect bites, ringworm, and other skin issues. There is a pink Jewelweed version called HIMALAYAN BALSAM (Impatiens glandulifera) that is also edible, but has higher oxalate levels. Seed pods burst open with a pop at the slightest touch- quite amusing toy. Young shoots and seeds most edible parts.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz