In the Wild with Greg Wagner

A Jewel of a Weed by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
July 15, 2009, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Wild Plants | Tags: , ,
Spotted Jewelweed

Spotted Jewelweed. Photo Courtesy of the University of Southern Indiana.

I spend a lot of time in the woods. I tell people it is important to know and understand ALL of your flora and fauna and to make nature’s connections. That stated, one of the more interesting plants that I find and use that I want to share with you is jewelweed. 

Impatiens spp. –  a Touch-Me-Not, jewelweed grows naturally in the richer soil of shady, moist woodlands in various Nebraska counties, especially along the wooded stream courses in the southeastern ones. Interestingly though, in my travels while fly fishing for trout with my sons, I have noted jewelweed along the East Branch of the Verdigre Creek in Antelope County and along the Snake River above Merritt Reservoir in Cherry County.   

Now, the intriguing aspect of jewelweed is that it is a natural remedy used to help sooth the sting of nettles and prevent the rash of poison ivy. Crush the stems and leaves of the plant and apply the juice directly to the skin. I can vouch for the fact that it works to alleviate the prickle of those nettles. I’ve not been daring enough to try it as a preventative barrier for poison ivy

What’s funny about jewelweed is that I have sometimes discovered it growing right near stands of nettles or poison ivy!  So, if you’re going on a hike, checking your trail cameras or planning a stream fishing adventure and you have a brush with nettles, don’t overlook what might help you nearby — a jewel of a weed!


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