Sunday, September 06, 2009

Wild Gem

Jewelweed, Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, Maine.

A few weeks ago I got into a discussion about poison ivy with Dirk, founder & spectacularly gifted massage therapist at

I mentioned that jewelweed, which often grows near poison ivy (in the East, anyway), is a natural antidote to it. My stepfather is, in medical parlance, "exquisitely sensitive" to P.I. and would get it all over himself, just from petting the cat. My mom used to collect masses of jewelweed and boil it down into a tincture, in which he'd soak in the bath. (I changed his life by giving him a bottle of TecNu Poison Ivy Cleanser, but that's another story.)

Dirk had never heard of jewelweed. Last week I backed into a patch of it while taking the 2nd photo in Bella Everywhere. So I picked a sprig, meaning to press it in a book and take back to Denver to show Dirk. But within 15 minutes, the flower had collapsed into a little wad and the leaves had withered into dust. That's when I thought of taking a photo (DUH!) of a living stand of jewelweed. Being a few minutes early for my lunch date at the Royal River Grillhouse, by the Yarmouth marina, I walked the perimeter of the parking lot till I found a section of trickling brook shaded by trees. And voila! a bunch of jewelweed, which thrives in damp shade.

I took some photos, but they didn't look so hot. Two days later, I was at Cape Jellison in Fort Point State Park, where the woods were full of gorgeous stands of jewelweed.

Look out, Georgia O'Keeffe!

Sometimes Nature makes the best floral arrangements.
Asters & jewelweed, Fort Point State Park.


Allie said...

I love jewel weed! We had it growing all over the place where I grew up. And it was super handy. We just broke it off at a "knuckle" and used the juice to wash off any area that poison ivy had touched. Worked wonders!

Debbie said...

Beautiful--plus, who knew? Poison ivy slays me just about every year. I'll have to keep my eye out for jewelweed (here in Maryland). . . maybe one can grow it in the garden?

Nice blog!

Bella Stander said...

Thanks, Debbie! You'd need a very big, damp, shady garden to grow jewelweed. Better to enjoy seeing it in the wild & stock up on TecNu Poison Ivy Cleanser--available at your local CVS. The stuff is amazing; it works so fast you can practically watch the P.I. rash dry up & STOP ITCHING.

Warren Bobrow said...

Jewel weed is an invasive here in NJ. We are zone 6 and it chokes out native plants. I remove it whenever it makes its way into my garden.