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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

The attractive orange flowers glisten in the sunlight, hence the name 'Jewelweed.' The other Jewelweed in this genus is Impatiens pallida (Yellow Jewelweed). The latter has similar foliage, but its flowers are pale yellow. The Jewelweeds have a muciliginous sap that is supposed to soothe skin irritation caused by Poison Ivy and Stinging Nettle. This sap also has fungicidal properties and has been used to treat Athlete's Foot. The cultivated Impatiens of the horticultural industry have been introduced from such areas as East Africa and New Guinea. They rarely escape from cultivation and are not considered a significant threat to native habitats.
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Description

This native plant is a summer annual that becomes 2-5' tall, branching occasionally. The round stems are glabrous and succulent, pale green to pale reddish green, and somewhat translucent. They are rather fragile and break easily. The alternate leaves are up to 5" long and 2½" across, although they are usually about half this size. The leaves are ovate, thin-textured, and hairless. There are low broad teeth along their margins. While the stems are often shiny, the leaves have a dull upper surface. The slender petioles are up to 2" long and usually shorter than the blades of the leaves. From the axils of the upper leaves, there occurs small clusters of 1-3 orange flowers. These flowers are held horizontally on drooping pedicels. Each flower is about 1" long and has a conical shape with upper and lower lips. There are 3 sepals and 5 petals (although this is difficult to discern). Two lateral sepals are small and membrananous; they are light green to light yellow and are located behind the upper lip. The third sepal forms the conical posterior of the flower, including the small nectar spur. This portion of the flower is typically light orange and shiny; the nectar spur usually bends forward to a position underneath the rest of the flower. The petals form the front of the flower and are usually dark orange with reddish streaks or brown dots. One petal forms the upper lip, which is curved upward, while 2 fused petals form the lower lip. The lower lip often is divided into 2 lobes and functions as a landing pad for visiting insects. There are also 2 smaller lateral petals between the upper and lower lips of the flower. A cluster of stamens with white anthers lies underneath the ovary near the upper lip. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall, and lasts about 2 months. There is no floral scent. During the fall, insignificant cleistogamous flowers form seed capsules with fertile seeds without any need for cross-pollination. These oblong seed capsules are divided into 5 sections, which split apart, flinging the large seeds a considerable distance. The root system consists of a shallow branching taproot. This plant often forms colonies by reseeding itself.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Orange Jewelweed is a common plant that occurs in most counties of Illinois; it is less common in the NW area of the state. Habitats include openings in moist woodlands, partially or lightly shaded floodplains along rivers, edges of woodland paths, swamps, seeps and fens, and roadside ditches. This species tolerates disturbance better than most wetland plants.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Impatiens capensis occurs from Alaska southwards through most of the Canadian provinces and into the eastern two-thirds of the continental U.S. Populations occur as far west as Colorado, with an additional disjunct grouping of populations in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho (USDA-NRCS 1999). Hulten (1968) reports that I. capensis is also described from Europe, but corroborating sources are not known. It is reported from 17 counties in Mississippi, becoming uncommon to rare in the southern one third of the state (Mississippi Natural Heritage Program). It is reported from almost every county in Arkansas (Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission). It is common throughout Michigan (Michigan Natural Features Inventory). It is restricted to the eastern quarter of the state of Kansas (Kansas Natural Features Inventory). It is adventive in Boulder County, Colorado (Weber and Wittmann 1992). It occurs in the southern half of Manitoba (Manitoba Conservation Data Centre).

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Physical Description

Type Information

Isotype for Impatiens nortonii Rydb.
Catalog Number: US 352718
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. Norton
Year Collected: 1895
Locality: Pottawatomie, Kansas, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Rydberg, P. A. 1910. N. Amer. Fl. 25: 95.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Orange Jewelweed is a common plant that occurs in most counties of Illinois; it is less common in the NW area of the state. Habitats include openings in moist woodlands, partially or lightly shaded floodplains along rivers, edges of woodland paths, swamps, seeps and fens, and roadside ditches. This species tolerates disturbance better than most wetland plants.
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Comments: I. capensis occurs in a variety of habitat types which range from moist to wet. These habitats include moist woods, floodplains, marshes, streamsides, shaded ditch edges, fens (Gleason and Cronquist 1963, Great Plains Flora Association 1986, Weber and Wittmann 1996b), and even along rocky lakeshores in the Chicago area (Swink and Wilhelm 1994). It is also reported from river edges, ponds, and oxbow lakes in mesic bottomland settings (Mississippi Natural Heritage Program). Sometimes I. capensis forms dense, nearly monotypic stands (Niering 1979).

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers attract the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and long-tongued bees, including bumblebees and honeybees. Swallowtail butterflies are less common visitors. These visitors seek nectar; many long-tongued bees also collect pollen. Sometimes bumblebees will steal nectar by chewing holes near the spur of the flower. Various smaller insects (e.g., Syrphid flies) will visit the same holes to steal nectar. The caterpillars of several moths feed on the foliage, including Euchlaena obtusaria (Obtuse Euchlaena), Spilosoma latipennis (Pink-Legged Tiger Moth), Trichodezia albovittata (White-Striped Black), and Xanthorhoe lacustrata (Toothed Brown Carpet). Upland gamebirds eat the large seeds, including the Ruffed Grouse, Ring-Necked Pheasant, Greater Prairie Chicken, and Bobwhite Quail. Among mammals, White-Tailed Deer browse on the foliage, while the White-Footed Mouse eats the seeds.
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Flower-Visiting Insects and Birds of Orange Jewelweed in Illinois

Impatiens capensis (Orange Jewelweed)
(Hummingbirds and most insects suck nectar; some bees collect pollen, as noted below; beetles knaw on the flowers and are non-pollinating; some observations are from Graenicher and Bertin as indicated below, otherwise they are from Robertson)

Birds
Trochilidae: Archilochus colubris sn fq (Rb, Gr, Brt)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus griseocallis sn (Gr), Bombus impatiens sn cp, Bombus pensylvanica sn, Bombus vagans sn (Gr); Anthophoridae (Anthophorinae): Anthophora terminalis sn (Gr); Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata sn; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis cp np, Megachile mendica cp np

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella striata cp np, Lasioglossum albipennis cp np (Gr), Lasioglossum versatus cp np

Flies
Syrphidae: Rhingia nasica sn (Gr)

Butterflies
Papilionidae: Papilio troilus sn

Beetles
Chrysomelidae: Diabrotica undecimpunctata gnw np

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Foodplant / pathogen
sporangium of Plasmopara obducens infects and damages pale green leaf of Impatiens capensis

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
Podosphaera balsaminae parasitises Impatiens capensis

Foodplant / parasite
telium of Puccinia impatientis parasitises live Impatiens capensis

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: Tens of thousands of populations are likely extant rangewide. British Columbia: >30; Manitoba: >100; Mississippi: numerous, from 17 counties primarily in the northern part of the state; Michigan: numerous and common; Ontario: very common, many thousands; Georgia: ubiquitous in the northern half of the state; very common in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Delaware, Missouri, and New York; New Hampshire: not rare; Kansas: 150-200, restricted to the eastern quarter; Texas: rare, easternmost part of the state barely makes it into the range of this species.

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General Ecology

In Manitoba, this species tends to be a weedy species along moist ditches, deciduous riverine forests and creeks, lakeshores, on wet to moist soils; an annual (Manitoba Conservation Data Centre).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Impatiens capensis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Impatiens capensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 9
Specimens with Barcodes: 16
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Impatiens capensis is very common and demonstrably secure in many parts of its range, although it is probably somewhat imperiled locally in other areas. Human activities are likely impacting this species through the destruction, fragmentation, and degradation of its wetland habitats, but at this time these activities have not caused a significant decline. Wild harvesting of this species for medicinal use is limited, local, and unlikely to be a financially lucrative enterprise in the near future.

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Global Short Term Trend: Decline of 10-30%

Comments: The often-publicized loss of North American wetlands constitutes a direct loss of habitat for I. capensis. Being a somewhat common and widespread species, it is reasonable to expect that many of the wetlands drained or filled for agriculture or urban development in the last three hundred years were originally populated by I. capensis. Some states have lost higher proportions of wetlands than others, so the loss of I. capensis habitat/populations is likely heterogeneous across the continent. Within the tallgrass prairie ecoregion, for example, especially large proportions of wetlands were drained for crop production.

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Threats

Comments: Any assessment of the wild population collection threat to I. capensis would need to consider the fact that it is annual, and essentially survives from year to year by successful seed production. Because the fresh juice must be used to obtain the medicinal benefits of this plant, its commercial value in the wild plant trade may be somewhat limited (Kara Dinda pers. comm.). It is listed as an "herb that can be commonly gathered" (Frontier Co-op 2000).

It is reported that this species would be difficult to cultivate for several reasons. It requires 75% shade as does ginseng. It must be grown from seed due to its annual life history and shallow, poorly developed root system. The seeds are difficult to collect because the fruits shatter immediately upon ripening. The seeds may also require cold treatment to germinate (Kara Dinda pers. comm.).

An individual familiar with the herbal medicinal trade in the U.S. states that this species receives little commercial attention, and that use is primarily on a local basis (McGuffin pers. comm.).

This species is collected on a very small scale in Mississippi, where such harvesting has little impact on the species (Ronald Wieland pers. comm.). The vast majority of all plant material used is wildcrafted (Ed Fletcher pers. comm.).

In Manitoba, there is no evidence to suggest that it is being collected. Native people may possibly collect it (Manitoba Conservation Data Centre).

The loss of wetlands in North America constitutes a great threat to the habitat of I. capensis. However, I. capensis occurs in a wide range of community types, and can appear in disturbed areas, which both suggest that I. capensis has reasonable prospects for survival on an ecologically damaged landscape (Swink and Wilhelm 1994, Weber and Wittmann 1996b). In Mississippi, the bottomlands in which this species is found are not disturbed to the extent that the surrounding uplands are. Though some wetlands are being converted, this poses little threat to this species in Mississippi at this time (Ronald Wieland pers. comm.). Threats include fragmentation and degradation of wetlands in Michigan, but this species is demonstrably secure (Mike Penskar pers. comm.). In Manitoba, threats include wetland and land drainage, road maintenance activities, forestry practices, and land clearing (Manitoba Conservation Data Centre).

Because each plant yields very little juice and does not dry well for preservation, wild populations could be devastated rather quickly if the species were to become popular as an herbal remedy (Kara Dinda pers. comm.).

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Management

Biological Research Needs: A more thorough conservation assessment of I. capensis would need to determine whether it is indeed also native to Europe (Hulten 1968). Also, those assessing this species' status might attempt to determine if this species is habitat-disturbance intolerant in certain parts of its range, or if, as reported locally in some texts, I. capensis can appear/survive in disturbed and semi-natural lands. Finally, because I. capensis is annual, those assessing I. capensis' status may need to research the longevity of its seedbank.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is light shade to partial sun, wet to moist conditions, and a fertile soil with an abundance of organic material. Submergence of the roots by flood water is tolerated for up to 2 weeks without apparent ill-effects. Sometimes the leaves are affected by mildew late in the year. It is easy to start this plant from seed.
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Economic Uses

Uses: FOOD, MEDICINE/DRUG, OTHER USES/PRODUCTS

Production Methods: Wild-harvested

Comments: Impatiens capensis has traditional uses for both food and medicine (Niering 1979, Peterson 1977, Weiner 1980). This species, and other Impatiens species, have numerous known medicinal qualities, especially in the treatment of poison ivy rashes (Ronald Wieland pers. comm., Robyn Klein pers. comm.). The juice extracted from fresh stems and leaves is generally regarded as the medicinally valuable part (Weiner 1980). It is taken internally to treat the poison ivy rash (Kara Dinda pers. comm.). A tea or tincture is rarely used as a diuretic or mild laxative (AllHerb.com 2000). It can also be applied topically as an immediate antihistamine agent for mosquito bites. This property may lend a high degree of marketing potential to this species (Kara Dinda pers. comm.). It is also used externally to treat poison oak, ringworm, warts, and nettle sting. Euell Gibbons presents a recipe for "jewelweed icecubes" as a salve for poison ivy (Mike Penskar pers. comm.). It one of the "12 healers" in the methodology of Dr. Bach, a renowned herbal healer of the 1930's, who recommends it as a cure for loneliness. He also prescribed formulations using Impatiens "for quick-tempered children who become easily frustrated. They are typically choleric children who tend to be hyperactive and impetuous. Often good in combination with vine (unspecified species) for strong-willed children." (Frontier Co-op 2000)

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Wikipedia

Impatiens capensis

Impatiens capensis, the Orange Jewelweed, Common Jewelweed, Spotted Jewelweed, Spotted Touch-me-not,[1] or Orange Balsam, is an annual plant native to North America. It is common in bottomland soils, ditches, and along creeks, often growing side-by-side with its less common relative, Yellow Jewelweed (I. pallida).

Flowers and leaves

The flowers are orange with a three-lobed corolla; one of the calyx lobes is colored similarly to the corolla and forms a hooked conical spur at the back of the flower. Plants may also produce non-showy cleistogamous flowers, which do not require cross-pollination.[2] The stems are somewhat translucent, succulent, and have swollen or darkened nodes. The seed pods are pendant and have projectile seeds that explode out of the pods when they are lightly touched, if ripe, which is where the name 'touch-me-not' comes from. The leaves appear to be silver or 'jeweled' when held underwater, which is possibly where the jewelweed name comes from. Along with other species of jewelweed it is a traditional remedy for skin rashes, although controlled studies have not shown efficacy for this purpose.

The species name "capensis", meaning "of the cape", is actually a misnomer, as Nicolaas Meerburgh was under the mistaken impression that it was native to the Cape of Good Hope, in southern Africa.[3]

Impatiens capensis was transported in the 19th and 20th centuries to England, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Finland, and potentially other areas of northern and central Europe. These naturalized populations persist in the absence of any common cultivation by people. This jewelweed species is quite similar to Impatiens noli-tangere, an Impatiens species native to Europe and Asia, as well as the other North American Impatiens. No evidence exists of natural hybrids, although the habitats occupied by the two species are very similar.

Pollination[edit]

Nectar spurs are tubular elongations of petals and sepals of certain flowers that usually contain nectar. Flowers of Impatiens capensis have these nectar spurs. Nectar spurs are thought to have played a role in plant-pollinator coevolution. Curvature angles of nectar spurs of Impatiens capensis are variable. This angle varies from 0 degrees to 270 degrees.[4]

The angle of the nectar spur is very important in the pollination of the flower and in determining the most efficient pollinator. Hummingbirds are the main pollinators. They remove more pollen per visit from flowers with curved nectar spurs than with perpendicular nectar spurs.[4] But hummingbirds are not the only pollinators of Impatiens capensis. Bees play an important role in pollination as well. Due to hummingbirds and bees, the pollination of Impatiens capensis is very high.[5]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dickinson, T.; Metsger, D.; Bull, J.; & Dickinson, R. (2004) ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto:McClelland and Stewart Ltd., p 197.
  2. ^ Impatiens capensis, Illinois Wildflowers: Orange Jewelweed
  3. ^ Strausbaugh, P.D. & Core, E. L. (1964) Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Seneca Books Inc., ISBN 0-89092-010-9, p. 622.
  4. ^ a b Tavers,S.E., Temeles, E.J. and I. Pan. "The relationship between nectar spur curvature in jewelweed ( Impatients capensis)and pollen removal by hummingbird pollinators" Canadian Journal of Botany, 2003, vol. 81, pp. 164-170.
  5. ^ Elemans, Marjet. "Light, nutrients and the growth of herbaceous forest species" Acta Oecologica 2004, vol. 26, pp. 197-202.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Even though Impatiens capensis has been given several names by different authors at the specific level, and flower color and height can vary, there is apparently little disagreement on what constitutes this species, and no subspecies or varieties are recognized (Gleason and Cronquist 1963, Kartesz 1999, Swink and Wilhelm 1994).

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