Saturday, August 2, 2008

Touch- Me- Nots

This plant is jewel weed. I have mentioned it before as an antidote to the burning of stinging nettles. It really works, and the relief is immediate. I have a friend whose husband works in the woods all year. She cans jewel weed to use on the poison ivy that he gets so easily most winters.

Jewel weed has juicy stems and either yellow or orange flowers. This picture shows a yellow flower, some buds, and the best part, a seed pod. This plant was growing on the compost pile. Japanese beetles love the plant so I was lucky to find an undamaged one to photograph.

The seed pods are the reason for the touch- me- not name. When the seeds are ripe the pods get fat. They are spring loaded and explode when touched. It's an ingenious method for spreading seed. Children, and adults who still have that child within, find popping the seed capsules irresistible fun. After years of this behavior from me and my children, I can always count on finding jewel weed somewhere in the garden.

This seed pod is still slender, but I'll be watching, and when it's ready , touch it I will!

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