Wild Flowers for your Garden
Shared by: nf107
Using Wild Flowers in Your Landscape Jewel-weed; Spotted Touch-me-not; Silver Cap; Wild Balsam; Lady's Eardrops; Snap Weed; Wild Lady's Slipper are all common names for Impatiens biflora (I. fulva). The wild plants produce orange yellow flowers spotted with reddish brown. The flowers are irregular in shape and grow to about one inch long or less. The plant grows from two to five feet tall and has smooth, colorful branches. The leaves are thin, coarsely toothed, and pale on the underside. This plant produces an oblong capsule seed pod that expels the seeds when ripe. It likes to grow beside streams, ponds, and in ditches - in other words: moist ground. It flowers from July to October and likes climates similar to Oregon, south to Missouri and Florida. These exquisite, bright flowers, hanging at a horizontal, like jewels from a lady's ear, may be responsible for the plant's folk-name; but whoever is abroad early on a dewy morning, or after a shower, and finds notched edges of the drooping leaves hung with scintillating gems, dancing, sparkling in the sunshine, sees still another reason for naming this the Jewel-weed. In a brook, pond, spring, or wayside trough, which can never be far from its haunts, dip a spray of the plant to transform the leaves into glistening silver. They shed water much as the nasturtiums do. When the tiny ruby-throated humming bird flashes northward out of the tropics to spend the summer, where can he hope to find nectar so deeply secreted that not even the long-tongued bumblebee may rob him of it all? Beyond the bird's bill his tongue can be run out and around curves no other creature can reach. Now the early-blooming columbine, its slender cornucopias brimming with sweets, welcomes the messenger whose needle- like bill will carry pollen from flower to flower; presently the coral honeysuckle and the scarlet painted-cup attract him by wearing his favorite color; next the jewel-weed hangs horns of plenty to lure his eye; and the trumpet vine and cardinal flower continue to feed him successively in Nature's garden; albeit cannas, nasturtiums, salvia, gladioli, and such deep, irregular showy flowers in cultivated flower beds sometimes lure him away. Familiar as we may be with the nervous little seed-pods of the touch-me- not, which children ever love to pop and see the seeds fly, they can still startle you with the suddenness of their volley. Touch the delicate hair-trigger at the end of a capsule, and the lightning response of the flying seeds makes you jump. The seeds sometimes land four feet away. The Pale Touch-me-not (I. aurea) I. pallida of Gray - most abundant northward, is a larger, stouter species found in similar situations, but with paler yellow flowers only sparingly dotted if at all. It shares its sister's common names. New Jersey Tea; Wild Snowball; Red-root (Ceanothus americanus). This plant produces small white on white pedicels crowded in dense, oblong, terminal clusters. It's a shrubby plant that grows one to three feet tall and has a deep, reddish root. The leaves are oblong and have a fine saw- tooth edge. This wild flower likes to grow in dry open woods and thickets. It flowers from May to July and accepts climates from Ontario south and west to the Gulf of Mexico. Light, feathery clusters of white little flowers crowded on the twigs of this low shrub interested thrifty colonial housewives of Revolutionary days not at all; the tender, young, rusty, downy leaves were what they sought to dry as a substitute for imported tea. Doubtless the thought that they were thereby evading George the Third's tax and brewing patriotism in every kettleful added a sweetness to the home-made beverage that sugar itself could not impart. The American troops were glad enough to use New Jersey Tea throughout the war. A nankeen or cinnamon-colored dye is made from the reddish root.