E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Impatiens capensis Meerb.
spotted touch-me-not (jewelweed; orange balsam; spotted jewelweed)
Balsaminaceae (Touch-me-not family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25669)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Impatiens capensis
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Jewelweed is a native flowering annual that is found in lightly shaded moist to wet areas, including wet woods, floodplains, swamps, seeps, fens, lake edges and ditches (Hilty 2012). The spotted orange spurred flowers are present in the summer through to early fall. It is pollinated by insects and hummingbirds (Pojar 2012).

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Annual succulent herb; stems erect to ascending, often branched, glabrous, 20-80 cm tall.
Alternate, stalked, egg-shaped to elliptic, shallowly and remotely saw-toothed, 3-12 cm long.
One to several in leaf axils, orange with mottled reddish-brown spots; sepals pouched, with spur curved or hooked.
Capsules, elastically dehiscent, 10-20 mm long, many-seeded.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist forests and lake edges in the lowland, steppe and lower montane zones; frequent in SW and SC BC; E to MB and MN and S to NE WA, MT, AL and FL.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

Because it was not collected in our region until 1950, Impatiens capensis may be introduced in the Pacific Northwest according to Peter Zika. Read his article in the Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, listed below.

Note Author: R. Klinkenberg, August 3, 2009.

Further Reading:

Ornduff, R. 1966. Impatiens capensis in Oregon: native or naturalized? Leaflets of Western Botany 10: 317-319.

Zika, Peter. 2006. The Status of Impatiens capensis (Balsaminaceae) on the Pacific Northwest Coast. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 133(4): 593-600.

Zika, Peter. 2009. Impatiens of the Pacific Northwest. Available: http://bomi.ou.edu/ben/408/impatiens_figures_408.pdf. Accessed August 3, 2009.

Taxonomic Key to Impatiens

1. Pouched sepals not spurred......................................I. ecalcarata

1. Pouched sepals spurred.

2. Leaves opposite or whorled (at least some of them, finely saw-toothed; flowers blue to purple or purplish-pink or sometimes white............................ I. glandulifera

2. Leaves alternate, coarsely saw-toothed; flowers orange or yellowish.

3. Spurs of the sepals straight, directed backward.......................................I. parviflora

3. Spurs of the sepals curved or hooked.

4. Flowers less than 2 cm long, without spots..........................I. aurella

4. Flowers more htan 2 cm long, spotted, mottled or sparingly flecked.

5. Flowers orange, brown-spotted, or -mottled.........................I. capensis

5. Flowers yellow, sparingly flecked with brownish purple........................I. noli-tangere


Ecological Framework for Impatiens capensis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
Slope Gradient (%)
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 5 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Impatiens biflora Walter
Impatiens fulva Nutt.
Impatiens noli-tangere subsp. biflora (Walter) Hult╬śn
Impatiens nortonii Rydb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References