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Jewelweeds A.K.A Touch-Me-Nots

August 29, 2013
Spotted Jewelweed, Touch-Me-Not ~ Impatiens ca...

Spotted Jewelweed, Touch-Me-Not ~ Impatiens capensis (Photo credit: vikisuzan)

Spotted Jewelweed, Touch-Me-Not ~ Impatiens ca...

Spotted Jewelweed, Touch-Me-Not ~ Impatiens capensis (Photo credit: vikisuzan)

I hung my clothes up outside today. Along the creek bank a mass of bright orange flowers had burst into bloom. I’ve been familiar with these plants all my life. I suddenly realised that I didn’t have the faintest idea of what they were called. Last year at the local library’s annual book sale I picked up a small, unassuming hardcover volume for a $1.00. It is simply titled “Flowers”. I browsed through it at the sale and was attracted by the pretty painted pictures of flowers that it contained. It wasn’t until I got it home and examined it more closely that I realised what I had purchased. It is a field guide to the 134 most common and familiar American Wildflower Families. It was published back in 1950. The interesting feature of the book is that the flowers are grouped according to the most predominant color of the family, thus improving your odds of discovering the general family if not your specific plant. I turned to the section labeled “Orange to yellow”. 10 pages in I found what I sought. Jewelweeds also known as Touch-Me-Nots. They get the nickname from the fact that ripe seed pods explode when touched. They like moist soil and shady places which makes the creek bank a perfect habitat for them. Their nectar attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Their seeds are eaten by several species of birds. They may be weeds, But I think they are pretty. Interested I went online to Wikipedia to learn more. Jewelweeds belong to the Impatiens family. Some people use their juice as a remedy for skin rashes, poison ivy in particular.

It was while I was on Wikipedia that I learned the second interesting fact of the day. Zero is an even number. I had always considered zero to be neutral. Mathematicians define an even number as one with two odd numbers on either side. Zero fits that definition, with 1 on one side and -1 on the other. There was also something about it being evenly divisible by 2 that I didn’t understand. Apparently that is another characteristic of an even number. Who knew? I was never very good at division. Zero’s evenness certainly wasn’t discussed in math classes when I went to school, of course that was over 30 some years ago. Emily

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  1. Impatiens capensis | Find Me A Cure

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