Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Spotted Jewelweed - Impatiens capensis   Meerburgh
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Section 6 » Order Geraniales » Family Balsaminaceae
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AuthorMeerburgh
DistributionThroughout the state, but of spotty occurrence along the coast.

This is a very widespread species across the Eastern half of the country, ranging from Canada south to northern FL and eastern TX. It has been recorded from nearly all counties in most states in its range.
AbundanceCommon and widespread statewide, though uncommon in most eastern coastal counties.
HabitatThis is a wetland species, growing in dense stands in swampy places, floodplain pools, seepages, bogs, wet thickets, bottomlands, rich coves, and other shaded to partly shaded wet places.
See also Habitat Account for General Broadleaf Herbaceous Mires
PhenologyBlooms from May to frost, and fruits shortly after flowering, usually in fall.
IdentificationThis is a very familiar species and is one of the few orange-flowered species most people will see in a forest. It is a robust, smooth herb, usually about 3-5' tall, rarely to 6' or more. It has numerous branches, with alternate leaves. Each leaf is elliptical to ovate-elliptical, about 3-4" long and 2" wide, with crenate margins and a rounded base. The flowers grow in small axillary clusters, with each flower dangling horizontally on a curved and very slender stalk about 1" long. The bright orange flower is tubular and trumpet-shaped, about 1" long and about 2/3" across the open face, which has 5 lobes. The capsule is well-known to be dehiscent, an ellipsoid-shaped greenish capsule about 4/5" long. Normally, it springs open "violently" to expel the seeds, but people often squeeze the tip to spring open the capsule and eject the seeds. In vegetative condition, it is very similar to I. pallida, which overlaps with I. capensis in the mountains and upper Piedmont; that species has light to medium yellow flowers.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Spotted Touch-me-not, Orange Jewelweed, Orange Touch-me-not. These names and Spotted Jewelweed are used about as frequently as each other. Essentially, you can't go wrong with any of these four names!
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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