The flowers of Jewel Weed are small but quite pretty and they attract all kinds of native pollinators. Jewel Weed prefers damp soil, so look for it along stream banks.
This Garden Bloggers Bloom Day in my Small Kitchen Garden is a real downer. 8 inches of rain last week drowned roots of my climbing beans and my chili peppers… and I must believe the winter squash isn’t happy. The rhubarb is also looking pretty bad which is especially distressing because rhubarb should be building up stores to help it through the winter.
Stepping out of My Small Kitchen Garden
To escape the ugliness, I stepped out of the garden for September’s Bloom Day post. I found one of my favorite common plants, the Touch Me Not, which many people know as Jewel Weed, and shot a few photos.
What I Know About Jewel Weed
I know Touch Me Nots from when I was a kid. It grew in thickets at the summer camp I attended. There were three things I loved about the plant then… and I still love those things:
Jewel Weed produces small pods that contain one or more seeds. As the pods mature, they become plump, and you can eventually see dark spots through their skins. The spots are seeds which are ripe when they turn dark.
1. The flowers are gorgeous
2. The seeds are edible and they taste pretty good
3. The seed pods explode
I’ve since learned a few other tidbits about Jewel Weed:
1. The sap is a cure for itchiness—particularly for poison ivy. Supposedly, if you crumple up and crush a leaf and rub it on a rash, the itchiness will diminish for several hours.
2. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
What’s not to like?
When you bump a ripe seed pod, it explodes and sends its seeds up to several feet away from the parent plant. I contained the explosion of this under ripe pod to capture the seeds and provide a look at the springy parts. Find a stand of Touch Me Nots, gently harvest a bunch of ripe pods, and contain them when they explode. Then snack on the dark-brown seeds. The flavor may remind you of wild hickory nuts.