Answer: One of the prettiest September bloomers is Jewelweed, which grows wild throughout across the eastern US from Georgia into Canada. It is most often found along riverbanks, in ditches, and in swamps. Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) has bright orange flowers with many dark red spots, while Pale Jewelweed (I. pallida), which is less common, has canary yellow blossoms with fewer spots. Both species also have white forms.
The common name describes the sparkling effect of water beading up on the blue-green leaves, which are succulent and a bit waxy. When crushed, the leaves release a juice which is often said to be an antidote to poison ivy. The plant is also called Touch-Me-Not, because the ripe seed capsule explodes when touched. This is merely a seed-dispersal mechanism and not dangerous. Children are enchanted by the effect.
The orange flowers are trumpet-shaped, narrowing to a tube- like nectar sac. Hummingbirds, long-tongued bumblebees, and hawk moths pollinate the flowers in their quest for nectar. Each Jewelweed flower begins as male, then loses its anthers to expose the female stigma, which can therefore only receive pollen from the anther of another flower.
Seeds are available from Cyberseeds, PO Box 171102, San Antonio, TX 78217-1102.
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