Experiments with Jewelweed

Jewelweed jewels (photo by Kate St. John)

Tuesday dawned cool and clear with patchy morning fog and lots of dew.  As I walked to work through Schenley Park I noticed that the jewelweed leaves were dripping with tiny round jewels.

Jewelweed gets its name from the way water beads up on top of the leaves but I’d never before seen jewels drip from the tips so I took a picture.  Then I experimented.

What would happen if I touched a jewel?

It came off on my finger and stayed in its rounded jewel form.  It wasn’t pure water.  It didn’t roll off.
Jewel on my fingertip (photo by Kate St. John)


While I was experimenting with these tiny drops Art Schiavo, an avid birder from Hershey, PA, was thinking about jewelweed too (amazing coincidence!) and sent me this message:

“I’m sure you know that jewelweed is in the Impatiens Genus.  I’m also fairly certain you know that its medicinal value is insect bite, stinging nettle exposure, and poison ivy relief, but did you know that the seeds are edible and taste similar to sunflower seeds?”

Wow.  I had no idea you could eat the seeds.  A little investigation uncovered this document that explains which parts of the plant are edible and how to cook them.  There’s no need to cook the seeds but good luck catching them when the casing pops.

More experiments ahead!


(photos by Kate St. John)

3 thoughts on “Experiments with Jewelweed

  1. Look forward to seeing the jewelweed each year. Have never noticed or found them bearing jewels. I probably did not pay close enough attention. Will give them a look see tommorrow. Enjoy visiting here each day. Many topics of interest for me you have to share. Keep up the good work and Thank You.

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