340: A morning with the jewelweedPosted: August 29, 2011
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.
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. 🙂