Impatiens capensis – Jewelweed

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Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), also known as Spotted touch-me-not, has an incredible ability to eliminate itching from poison ivy and bug bites.
Jewelweed is a self-seeding annual that is one of the few native plants that can successfully compete with garlic mustard.
Jewelweed can be found near water, often forming dense stands at the edges of marshes. It can be identified by its almost translucent stems and alternate, oval leaves with toothed edges.
Jewelweed stems and leaves can be crushed and applied topically to skin that has been exposed to poison ivy to prevent an itchy rash. Jewelweed can also prevent itching and pain from bug bites and stinging nettle. The sap has been shown to have anti-fungal properties which is useful in the treatment of athlete’s foot.
Jewelweed flowers are technically edible, but not recommended for consumption due to their high levels of oxalic acid. Some will eat the young Jewelweed greens after several changes of water to leech out oxalates. The nutty tasting seeds can be eaten in moderation.
Jewelweed should never be picked clean from an area. It is best to leave 3/4 of the plant so it can continue to grow.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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