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The Plant with Many Names

It is called silverweed because when you dip its leaves into water the leaves show a silvery glow. It is called ladies ear drops because its flowers dangle like earrings from a girl’s ears. It is called jewelweed because the rain and early morning dew resemble jewels on its stems. It is called touch-me-not because if you touch its ripened seed pod, it explodes catapulting seeds. And it has also been called horns of plenty due to the shape of the blossom and the bountiful nectar within it.

No matter what you want to call it, it is a pretty plant of freshwater wetlands that attracts an assortment of butterflies and hummingbirds that are attracted to the sweet nectar inside its flower.

It is said to have been used by native Americans to sooth poison ivy rashes. I tried it once on a patch of poison ivy on my wrist. I broke open a watery stem on a plant and rubbed it on my rash. Surprisingly there was a hydrogen peroxide like fizzing of the juices when it came into contact with my poison ivy rash and it was soothing, but it is not a cure for it.

Though this plant has many common names, it has only one scientific name known to botanists – Impatiens capensis.

One comment on “The Plant with Many Names

  1. Interesting … a plant with many “faces”. Thanks for the share.


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