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Orange jewelweed



Classification:

Family:  Balsaminaceae, balsam family
Genus, species:  Impatiens capensis

Leaves:
Leaves are ovate with broadly toothed margins.

Flowers:
Flowers are bright orange, held horizontally on drooping stems. Each flower is about 1 inch long, cone-shaped, with upper and lower lips. One petal forms the upper lip. Two fused petals form the lower lip. The lower lip is divided into two lobes and forms a landing pad for visiting insects. Flowers attract hummingbirds, bees, butterflies.

Fruit:
Fruit is a capsule. Seeds are explosively released when mature fruit is touched.

Common Uses and Interesting Facts:
Sap of the jewelweed stem can be used to soothe irritated skin, from poison ivy or stinging nettle.

More Information:

Impatiens is from the Latin for "impatient," referring to the touch-sensitive fruits.  The species name capensis is from the Latin for "of the cape," which literally means (mistakenly in the case of orange jewelweed) from the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.

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