Jewelweed and New York Ironwood

Jewelweed is blooming now in Frederick County. Jewel-weed (Impatiens pallida) is part of the Inpatients family; it is also known as touch-me-nots because it has a seed pod which explodes if touched when the seeds are mature. This trait helps the plants disperse their seeds distances of 20 feet or more. Jewel-weed is a native annual plant that is well distributed throughout America and was introduced across Europe during the last few centuries. It is found in moist rich soils throughout the region. The leaves when wet can refract light like a prism; the leaf underwater can actually shine like aluminum foil. Jewell-weed has been used as a home remedy for insect bites, bee stings, and poison ivy.

Jewelweed in bloom near Myersville

Photo by Mike Kay

New York Ironweed - An attractive perennial plant is beginning to blossom in our area now the New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis). This tall herbaceous perennial is found in stream bottoms and lowlands in much the same areas as cardinal flower and Joe-Pye Weed. The ironweed has an attractive purplish flower that stays in bloom from early August to October. Ironweed gets its name from the strong stems that make the plant stand erect throughout the winter. New York Ironweed is a native species found throughout most of the eastern part of the country. It has very rich nectar which is a favorite of hummingbirds and bees. Extracts from the ironweed plant have been used to cure a number of stomach ailments.

Nature Notes for 8/25/2013

Ironweed growing near Emmitsburg

Photo by Mike Kay