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The Daily Bucket is a place to catch your casual observations of the natural world and turn them into a valuable resource. Whether it's the first flowers of spring or that odd bug in your basement, don't be afraid to toss your thoughts into the bucket. Check here for a more complete description.

I went for a walk in the Great Swamp a couple of weeks ago, and haven't had much chance to sort out my pictures since. But the jewelweed pictures were easy to sort out, so here are a few, below the strange little orange fungus.

100_2965Spotted Jewelweed is a wild native Impatiens, Impatiens capensis, that loves wet soil. Here in the swamp, it has a lot of competition and stays fairly small, but it's said to be able to reach five feet in height, and I've seen it almost that tall in places where it dominates. It's found throughout the United States with the exception of Wyoming, Montana, and the southwest including California. There's a lighter-flowered species, Pale Jewelweed, Impatiens pallida, with a similar range.

It forms a second kind of flower, other than the rather showy orange one. These are tiny petal-less flowers that don't open, but that form the majority of the seeds. The seed pods explode and hurl seeds everywhere at the slightest touch when ripe, which is why the other popular name for these is Touch-Me-Not. (That is to say, insignificant cleistogamous flowers form seed capsules with fertile seeds without any need for cross-pollination.)

100_2922The crushed stems and leaves are widely believed to be a remedy for poison ivy rash and stinging nettle, as well as burns, bruises, and other skin ailments such as athlete's foot and other fungus. I'm so violently allergic to poison ivy that it's not the sort of research I'd like to undertake myself, but in a pinch, I suppose it would be good to know about. Might help!

Pretty jewelweed was one of the first wildflowers my mom taught me to identify, and I always look for it eagerly in the summer and early fall. In the partial shade and wet ground of the swamp, it's easy to find some right along the boardwalk trail.

In mid-August, jewelweed is blooming in New Jersey.

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Your turn. What's blooming, flinging seeds, flying, crawling, or running around where you are?
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