Herbs & Plants

Impatiens aurella

Botanical Name: Impatiens aurella
Family: Balsaminaceae
Order :Ericales
Genus: Impatiens
Species:Impatiens aurella Rydb.
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Names: Impatiens, Jewelweed, Touch-me-not, Snapweed and patience, Paleyellow touch-me-not

Habitat: Impatiens aurella native to Western N. America – Central Alaska to Oregon and Idaho.It grows on damp thickets and springy places.

Impatiens aurella is an annual herbs with succulent stems. Plant size varies from five centimetres to 2.5 meters. Stems are often rooting when becoming in contact with the soil. The leaves are entire, often dentate or sinuate with extra floral nectaries. Dependent of the species leaves can be thin to succulent. Particularly on the underside of the leaves, tiny air bubbles are trapped over and under the leaf surface, giving them a silvery sheen that becomes pronounced when they are held under water.

The zygomorph flowers of Impatiens are protandric. The calyx consists of five free sepals, of which one pair is oft strongly reduced. The non-paired sepal forms a flower spur producing nectar. In a group of species from Madagascar the spur is completely lacking, but they still have three sepals. The crown consists of five petals, of which the lateral pairs are fused each. The five stamens are fused and form a cap over the ovary, which falls off after the male phase. After the stamens have fallen off, the female phase starts and the stigma becomes receptive, which reduces self-pollination.


Succeeds in any reasonably good soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich soil in a cool site. This plant has seed capsules that spring open forcibly as the seed ripens to eject the seed a considerable distance. The capsules are sensitive to touch even before the seed is ripe, making seed collection difficult but fun. This species is probably part of I. noli-tangere.

Edible Uses:
Young shoots – cooked in one change of water. Some caution is advised, see the notes below on toxicity. Seed – raw or cooked. They are tedious to collect in quantity, mainly because of their exploding seed capsules which scatter the ripe seed at the slightest touch.

Medicinal Uses:
Antidote, parasiticide. Used in the treatment of warts, ringworm, nettle stings, poison ivy rash etc.
North American impatiens have been used as herbal remedies for the treatment of bee stings, insect bites, and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) rashes. They are also used after poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) contact to prevent a rash from developing. The efficacy of orange jewelweed (I. capensis) and yellow jewelweed (I. pallida) in preventing poison ivy contact dermatitis has been studied, with conflicting results. A study in 1958 found that Impatiens biflora was an effective alternative to standard treatment for dermatitis caused by contact with sumac, while later studies found that the species had no antipruritic effects after the rash has developed. Researchers reviewing these contradictions state that potential reason for these conflicts include the method of preparation and timing of application. A 2012 study found that while an extract of orange jewelweed and garden jewelweed (I. balsamina) was not effective in reducing contact dermatitis, a mash of the plants applied topically decreased it.

Other Uses:
A yellow dye is obtained from the plant. No more details are given. Used as a hair rinse for itchy scalps. No more details are given. A fungicide is obtained from the plant. No more details are given but it is likely to be the juice of the plant that is used.

Known Hazards:
Regular ingestion of large quantities of these plants can be dangerous due to their high mineral content[172]. This report, which seems nonsensical, might refer to calcium oxalate. This mineral is found in I. capensis and so is probably also in other members of the genus. It can be harmful raw but is destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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