Adirondack Wildflowers:  Spotted Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis) on the Black Pond Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC (16 August 2012)

Adirondack Wildflowers:
Spotted Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis)

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Spotted Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis) on the Jenkins Mountain Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC (27 July 2011) Adirondack Wildflowers: Spotted Touch-Me-Not on the Jenkins Mountain Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC (27 July 2011)

Spotted Touch-Me-Not is an Adirondack wildflower that occurs in moist and wet areas in woods, swamps, beaver marshes and floodplains throughout the Adirondack Mountains and the north woods region. The plant grows up to five feet tall and has pale green, translucent stems. The succulent stems exude juice when broken. The orange flowers, which appear in July and August, hang on dangling stalks in clusters. Each flower is about one inch long and has deep orange to reddish spots. The fruits are pale green pods which "explode" at the slightest touch, scattering the seeds. The name "Touch-me-not" is derived from this characteristic. The plant is also known as Jewelweed and Orange Jewelweed - a reference to the way the spotted blossoms hand like a pendent jewel.

This species is an important source of food for the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which reportedly contributes to its pollination. Bees and butterflies are also important pollinators.

Spotted Touch-Me-Not occurs from Alaska southwards through most of the Canadian provinces and into the eastern two-thirds of the continental U.S.

Spotted Touch-Me-Not was used as a medicinal herb by several native North American Indian tribes, particularly as an external application for wounds and skin complaints. The juice of the leaves reportedly can be used externally in the treatment of poison ivy rashes, nettle strings, and burns. There is contradictory reporting on the plant's edibility. Some reports indicate that the succulent stems can be cut up and cooked like green beans, while others warn that the plant is dangerous if ingested. The berries, in particular, are said to be toxic to humans.

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Spotted Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis) on the Black Pond Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC (16 August 2012)Adirondack Wildflowers: Spotted Touch-Me-Not on the Black Pond Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC (16 August 2012)

Spotted Touch-Me-Not is found on several of the trails at the Paul Smiths VIC, including the Jenkins Mountain Trail, the Black Pond Trail, the Heron Marsh Trail, and the Barnum Brook Trail. Spotted Touch-Me-Not usually blooms at the Paul Smiths VIC in late July and August.

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Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.