Jewel weed

This jewel weed grows along the roadside downhill from me, in an area where my small stream passes through a culvert under the road.

In the previous post, I mentioned jewel weed as a plant that might grow well in the dark, moist area under my deck. As luck would have it, there is a stand of jewel weed along a branch downhill from me, so I can steal some seeds down there.

The native wild jewel weed grows in the shady undergrowth along small streams. It has dangling, horn-shaped flowers. In the fall, it forms elongated seed pods. When the pods are ripe, taut fibers along the seed pod are like springs. If you touch a ripe pod, it will explode with a surprising amount of force and fling seeds as far as 10 feet. It’s a magical little plant, even without the seed bombs.

Michael’s suggestion was that I gather some jewel weed plants when the pods are ripe and lay the plants under the deck. When the pods explode, they’ll seed the area under the deck.

2 thoughts on “Jewel weed”

  1. What a lovely idea. I do love jewelweed, and used to be on staff at a Boy Scout Camp. As I’d hike out the trail to my teaching station, I’d pass big stands of jewelweed growing and pinch the flowers, just to feel that terrific little explosion. That’s a great idea to let it self seed like that. It should look great in that dark place and fill the space with nice color. You have a terrific advisor there.

  2. Just wanted to say about jewelweed that if you crush up the leaves and stems so some of the plant’s juice comes out it makes a very good soothing application for poison ivy. My gardener/landscaper neighbor informed me about this earlier this summer and it does seems to work–somehow I got in to some and had a reaction on my arm. Of course it is no cure or permanent solution, but it did provide some temporary relief till the rash gradually and finally, thankfully, went away.

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