Impatiens capensis (Orange or Spotted Jewelweed)

Impatiens capensis is especially attractive to hummingbirds but it also attracts insect pollinators and others, some of which are seen in this video. Although it is an annual, this native plant persists in the landscape through self-seeding, and in optimum conditions can spread aggressively.  Video © 2020 Mary Free

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

The showy flowers of this native annual dangle on slender stalks mid- summer to early fall along stream banks and in open swamps, moist meadows, and marshes throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. Water droplets captured on its leaves glisten, giving rise to its common name, Jewelweed. The violent dispersal of seeds from ripe capsules, which burst open upon contact, give it another common name, Touch-me-not.

Print Version (Legal Size): Impatiens capensis (Orange or Spotted Jewelweed)

Annual Height: 11⁄2–5 foot Spread: 11⁄2–21⁄2 foot Bloom Color: Orange Characteristics Self-seeding annual herb Dull green, broad-toothed, oval leaves on round, somewhat fragile stems Clusters of 1–3, red-spotted, orange and yellow cornucopia-shaped flowers with rear nectar spurs dangle on slender stalks from July until frost Ripe slender fruit capsules burst open to disperse seeds a goodly distance Persists in the landscape through self-seeding, aggressively spreading in the right conditions Attributes Tolerates full shade, clay soil, and wet soil No serious pests or diseases; deer occasionally damage* browsing the foliage Ethnobotanic use of plant juices to relieve itching Attracts bees, syrphid flies, swallowtail butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds, and small mammals; larval host to various moth species Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Average, well-drained Light Requirements: Partial Shade, Shade Water Requirements: Moist, Wet Use in annual, shade, wildflower, or rain gardens and along pond or stream edges Hardiness: USDA Zones 2–11 Excellent Replacement for Impatiens glandulifera - Ornamental Jewelweed Hesperis matronalis - Dame’s Rocket Lythrum salicaria - Purple Loosestrife *Research, i.e., Historically browsed jewelweed populations exhibit greater tolerance to deer herbivory than historically protected populations (Martin, 2014) showed that Jewelweed populations that have normally grown in unprotected areas produced 160% more seeds than Jewelweed protected by fencing or other barriers.Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets