Orange Jewelweed, although beautiful, can be a nuisance as it can rapidly spread and take over crops and yards. Weeds like this are annoying, unwanted intruders that can invade your yard and create an overgrown look.
But before you kill or pull them out, have you considered the benefits this plant might offer?
This weed can bring beautiful pops of bright orange to your yard, intriguing you and local wildlife like butterflies and hummingbirds. It can even provide you with some useful medicinal benefits!
Keep reading to learn about this weed’s identifiable characteristics, how to rid your yard of it, and its helpful uses!
History of Orange Jewelweed
Orange Jewelweed, or Impatiens capensis, is a member of the balsam family. This family of plants contains a type of sap commonly used for medicinal and cosmetic creation purposes. Other names for this weed include common jewelweed, orange balsam, and spotted jewelweed.
Orange Jewelweed is native to the eastern and northern parts of North America. It grows in moist, shaded areas like marshes, ponds, and moist wooded areas.
People often call these weeds spotted touch-me-nots because the seed pods explode when you touch them. But don’t worry — it isn’t harmful when they do this!
How to Identify Orange Jewelweed
Orange Jewelweed is an easy weed to identify, as the flowers have a unique shape. The base of each flower has a funnel shape, which leads to circular to oval-shaped petals sticking outward. These petals might even look a little scalloped at times.
Another unique thing is that the flowers typically droop toward the ground. This is due to the weed’s weak and thin stems.
This weed is also easy to spot due to its bright coloring. Its unscented flowers are usually a vibrant mix of orange and yellow with red spots splattered on the petals. They look like little pieces of art.
The leaves of Orange Jewelweed are green, typically bigger than the flowers, and have an oval shape. Looking closely, you’ll also see that the leaves have dull-toothed edges. The weed grows up to five feet in height and in a bush-like formation.
Why is Orange Jewelweed Considered a Weed?
Orange Jewelweed is an annual weed and wildflower. You’ll begin to see it growing in the spring, with the flowers budding and blooming in the summertime. It will rapidly spread due to the exploding seed pods, which makes it hard to control. The weed is especially damaging to crops, as it can take them over and steal nutrients.
It can become a nuisance and damage all the hard work you put into your landscape. That’s why it falls into the category of a weed. It is generally unwanted due to its rapid takeover.
Does Orange Jewelweed Cause Any Issues?
Generally, this weed doesn’t cause any injuries to humans or animals. It doesn’t have harmful spikes or thorns and the plant is non-toxic to humans and animals. The only potential for bodily harm is if the seed pods get ingested in large amounts. Most people and animals can eat them without issues, but they can cause stomach issues if you eat too many.
Another issue you can expect is wilting and dying of other plants in your yard or crops. Orange Jewelweed typically wins in the fight for nutrients, taking them away from other plants. So, if you allow the weed to take over, you can expect your other plants to have issues thriving.
How Does Orange Jewelweed Spread?
This weed spreads through its seed dispersal method, which is when the seed pods burst open. Sometimes the pods will open on their own, but they mostly explode when a person or animal brushes against them. The smallest amount of touch will send the seeds flying far away from the plant, making spreading hard to control.
How To Get Rid of Orange Jewelweed
Orange Jewelweed has a very shallow taproot system. So, pulling them out of the ground is an easy process, requiring little muscle. However, preventing the weed from spreading is the challenging part. There are a few things you can try to rid of this weed and prevent it from spreading in your yard.
Natural Ways To Get Rid of Orange Jewelweed
Removing the weeds by hand is the easiest option. But you need to act quickly. You’ll need to remove the weeds before the flowers open to prevent the seed pods from exploding. The flowers turn into seed pods after dying.
If the seed pods aren’t there yet, there’s no chance for dispersal. So, you’ll need to keep an eye on your yard and identify the weed by its leaves and buds.
Organic weed killers can also help control this weed, but they won’t kill the roots. So it may come back.
You can also prepare for the next season by spreading a layer of mulch in garden beds. This will help block sunlight, which the weed needs to grow.
Your other option in ridding your yard of Orange Jewelweed is using weed killers. If the weed infiltrates your lawn, you need to use a lawn-safe formula so you won’t kill your grass. And if it’s making its way into your flower beds, you should remove the weeds and use a weed preventer.
Simply follow the instructions on the product you choose and your yard should become weed-free soon.
Will Weed Killers Cause More Harm Than Good?
In general, weed killers aren’t very toxic to humans since we aren’t consuming them. However, they can harm pets, causing digestive issues and other signs of toxicity. So, you should wait at least two days before letting your pets into your yard after spraying.
Many weed killers can burn and kill your plants and grass. So, to prevent this harm, always make sure your weed killer is grass and plant safe.
Does Orange Jewelweed Have Any Good Uses?
While Orange Jewelweed can easily become a nuisance, it does have some helpful uses. You can use this weed for both topical medicinal uses and aesthetic purposes.
Benefits of Orange Jewelweed
Orange Jewelweed is popular in Native American medicine. Its primary use is for treating poison ivy. Research shows that mashing and spreading the plant on poison ivy rashes can help reduce inflammation and itching. It is also helpful in reducing itching and inflammation related to bug bites and eczema. This shows that it acts as an antihistamine.
You can also use this weed for aesthetic purposes in your yard. Some people intentionally plant jewelweed for its beauty. The flowers provide bright pops of orange and red, livening up your yard. This makes a great filler plant if you have any bare spots.
What part of Orange Jewelweed do you use for poison ivy?
The leaves of this weed work best when trying to treat poison ivy. You can pick some leaves and rub them on the rash. Or you can mash them up into a paste, which seems to have better results.
What happens when you touch Orange Jewelweed?
When the weed is blooming, seed pods are likely present. So if you touch it during blooming, the pods will explode and scatter seeds multiple feet away.
Can you eat Orange Jewelweed?
You can eat this plant if you want, as it is non-toxic. The seeds taste a little like walnuts. Some people like to add them to salads or use jewelweed flowers in recipes.
Wrapping Up Orange Jewelweed
Orange Jewelweed is a rapidly growing weed that can easily take over crops, gardens, and shaded yards. However, it is a weed that offers gorgeous, colorful flowers and can even help tame your poison ivy rash. While it can be annoying at times, it has benefits that are worth trying out!
If you feel like you need to learn more about these pesky garden tenants, check out our weeds page to learn all about different weed varieties, treatment options, and surprising information.
- About the Author
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Ashley Masiello is a home gardener, outdoor lover, video editor, artist, general freelance writer, and a writer for Minnetonka Orchards. She has a bachelor’s degree in film/media and two minors in writing and art.
She loves to tend to her plants, participate in all kinds of outdoor projects, and looks forward to planting a beautiful garden every spring.
Ashley loves sharing her knowledge about planting and fun outdoor DIY projects!
Ashley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.