Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Spotted touch-me-not

I'm pretty sure this bloom is a spotted touch-me-not. An entire row of these plants is growing as thick as a hedge for 8-10 feet along a seasonal stream at the bottom of my lane. The blooms are small, no more than half an inch each. I like how they are the colors of fall in the days just before fall arrives. The plants are about 2 feet high, and they are just covered with these tiny blooms. I'm guessing there must be 100 blooms along the little stream, if not more.

The flowers and seeds are supposed to explode when touched, hence their name. I'll have to try that when I get home tonight, though the flowers are so pretty that I hate to ruin one. The "explosion" is how the plant distributes its seeds, which is a pretty clever adaptation. I enjoy finding any blooms this late in the season. Nearly everything else has long since faded and disappeared, so finding anything, let alone something this striking, is a treat.

As pretty as this little plant is, even with a row of these plants to look at, they are also easy to walk by. In fact, if I didn't have the whole row of them to look at, I'm not sure I would have noticed them at all. The plant looks a bit weedy, and the blooms are best seen when I'm crouched next to them. To me, the blooms look like an orange, miniature lady's slipper. Nature's show isn't always about majestic rocky mountains and grand canyons. The little things all have their own stories, if you take the time to listen for them.

4 comments:

Lynne said...

We have those flowers along our creek also. There really is so much of nature that we miss unless we look closely. It's the seed pods that explode when touched. I've also heard that the plant juice is useful in calming poison ivy and stinging nettles.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne,

Thanks for the tip about the juice of this plant relieving poison ivy. I'll have to remember that (and hope I never need to use it)!

Carolyn H.

Pamela said...

I know it as jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). I've heard that's it good for poison ivy as well--but I've never had to try it either, luckily.

Anna Lisa said...

Yes, I know "touch-me-not" as jewelweed too; it's common here in Bucks County, PA, especially near creeks. It's called jewelweed because the leaves (and stems too, if I remember correctly) have a fascinating quality.. they will shine brightly and look just like silver (metal) when placed under water. Water beading on it will even look like silver. We loved this as kids and used it for all kinds of make-believe. The juice definitely does help with poison ivy. Just break the stem and squeeze. Great to know when hiking!