340: A morning with the jewelweed

Most of my outdoor time today was spent by a large patch of jewelweed early this morning.  The leaves of the plants were dotted with dew glittering in the sun.  I’m not sure but I think that’s why it’s called jewelweed.  Another name for it is the spotted touch-me-not.  The flowers attract the Ruby Throated Hummingbird, and long-tongued bees such as honeybees and bumblebees.  This morning the jewelweed was a-buzz and humming with thousands of bees.

I watched for nearly an hour, fascinated with the way the bees would burrow into the flowers to extract the nectar and/or pollen, then back out and fly to the next flower.  The dew sparkling in the sunlight was pretty fascinating too.

Orange spotted jewelweed is an annual.  I was surprised to learn that because we have such dense patches of the plants in several spots around the property, and we see it in those same spots year after year.  Of course anything with seeds will likely do that.  I guess I thought of it more like a shrub or the cattails or other plants that come back year after year.

Jewelweed fruits are long pods filled with seeds.  Pressure builds in the pods until they explode when touched.  This is what earned the plant its touch-me-not name.  The plants depend on animals to brush against the pods, causing them to explode, which allows them to release their seeds and spread.

The sap of the jewelweed plant is used as a folk remedy to relieve the itching from poison ivy.  It frequently grows near poison ivy, making it easy to find when needed.

It is also used as a remedy for the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.

I was hoping I might spot a hummingbird or two, but none showed up this morning.  Just the bees, humming and buzzing.

After a while I gave up waiting for the hummingbirds and took my walk around the pond and back into the woods.  This eventually led me to another patch of jewelweed, located near the catttails where I spent a little more time photographing and watching the bees, the flowers, and the dew on the leaves.

The weather here in the Bogs today is nearly perfect.  There are still some clouds drifting in and out, but the sky is mostly blue.  It is warm, but not overly so.  It is the kind of day I’d like to spend hiking in the woods and meadows of one of the local state parks.

I was thinking that when I start on The Artist’s Way next month, a visit or two to Quail Hollow on my own would make for a good artist’s date.  I see they have a Bird Drawing scheduled for September 11th.  How serendipitous is that?

Yesterday evening M and I took the pedal boat out on the pond for a little sunset cruise.  It was a gorgeous evening.  Here, I’ll show you:

Flocks of geese flew overhead, announcing that autumn will soon be with us.

Back in formation

That’s it from the Bogs for today.  Thank you for dropping by and joining me as I studied the jewelweed.  Let’s grab a glass of tea or lemonade and sit on the deck for a little while, relaxing and enjoying this gorgeous day.  🙂


29 Comments on “340: A morning with the jewelweed”

  1. Fascinating post, Robin. It’s amazing watching the bees coming in for a landing, as well. Actually, I had never heard of jewelweed before.

    Also, I didn’t know you had made the final decision to do the Artist’s Way. I remember your saying you were thinking about it. I will be sooooooo curious to see how that goes for you.


    • Robin says:

      I think I may have mentioned it in the comments somewhere, but not on the blog, Kathy M. One of my blogmates (Bo) offered to dust off her copy of The Artist’s Way and do it along with me. I’m going to try to make it fun for myself this time around. I think part of my problem in the past was taking it all too seriously.

      Thanks! 🙂

  2. I really like how you captured the bees “in action.” We don’t have jewelweed in South Jersey–love the bright colors of it. And my favorite: the photo of the pond!!

  3. loren says:

    I just recently saw a patch of these the other day here in Washington and wondered what they were. Now I know. Thanks

  4. I’m with Kathryn, I had never heard of jewelweed! It almost looks like an orchid in some of the photos you shot, but deeper. I learn something new every day. 😉

  5. ladyfi says:

    Wow – that jewelweed is indeed a jewel! Love the shots with the bees coming into land. Just magical.

  6. dragonfae says:

    I wish I had some jewelweed … I’d love to make a few remedies from it. I don’t suppose I could entice you into snipping a few seed pods for me?

    • Robin says:

      I’d be happy to send some to you, DragonFae. It grows like a weed, though, and if it’s not indigenous to your area, are you sure you want to introduce it?

      • dragonfae says:

        It’s not indigenous, but it would be useless to me to grow in the yard or even a pot outside. We are 2 blocks from LAX and I shudder to think what all the jet fuel residue would add to any concoction. Eeewww.

        I was planning on an indoor pot or maybe sticking it in a pot on the bottom shelf of my mini-greenhouse. It certainly couldn’t take over much that way. And I did check the “Invasive Plant” database … it’s not in there so there shouldn’t be any problems sending seeds by any means. 😉

        If you’re OK with it, I can send you an email and we can work details. If you aren’t comfortable with it, I totally understand. 🙂

  7. Joceline says:

    beautiful shots of the jewelweed and bees. I’ve always just called it a wild orchid so am glad to know it’s name.It does grow like a weed around here and I just love it. thank you for the lovely walk today. you shine like a jewel!

  8. eof737 says:

    These are stunning shots; especially of the bee in mid flight… The lushness of the scenery, the wet floral, it was all delightful TY! 🙂

  9. My favorite wildflower to photograph! They just seem to pose for the camera…
    I’ve never used it for poison ivy, but it’s great for dealing with Seven-Minute Itch (Stinging Nettles)…split the stem, and rub it on. Calms it pretty quickly.

  10. They kind of look like tiny little orchids 🙂
    Love the view of your house from the pond, and the lighting/composition of the last one.

  11. Kathy says:

    You are starting the Artist’s Way next month, Robin? Another thing we will have had in common. Looking forward to hearing how you enjoy it. I love jewelweed. It used to grow in profusion around our house, but it’s less prominent now. Your photos are orange and sweet and lovely.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Kathy. 🙂

      Yes, I’m starting after Labor Day. I’ve tried it a few times in the past and never made it more than a week or two, usually because of the morning pages. I’m going to go at it with an attitude of playfulness (and less perfectionism) this time around.

  12. Chloe [Photographer] says:

    awesome selection of photos; i really love that bee photo, where you can clearly see him flying & his little wings are a blur

  13. carlaat says:

    Love, love jewelweed! Did you know that if you hold the green leaves underwater they’ll shine like silver? So cool!

    • Robin says:

      I had no idea, Carla. I’ll have to give it a try. It makes sense. The leaves tend to shine like that when they’re covered with dew or raindrops. Thanks! 🙂

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