I was out on yet another bike ride on the Wobegon Trail (where better to find all the nature that Central Minnesota has to offer?), when, what to my wandering eyes should appear, but Spotted Touch-Me-Nots! Having recently posted about Meadowhawk dragonflies it is only fitting that I should find–and photograph–the lovely little flowers from my as yet sole dragonfly drawing.
Like Meadowhawks, Spotted Touch-Me-Nots appear in mid to late summer. They tend to like the same habitat as poison ivy, which is fortuitous, given that the mashed-up touch-me-not plant can prevent the rash if applied after exposure–a remedy I made use of, having gotten a little too close to some poison ivy not five minutes before taking these photographs. Of course, though touch-me-nots often grow near poison ivy, the reverse is also true–poison ivy has a distressing tendency to grow near touch-me-nots.
For all their vastly differing appearances, the plants are closely related to garden Impatiens (and in fact, their scientific name is Impatiens capensis). The seed pods are what give it its common name; as they ripen and swell, the pods become extremely sensitive to the touch and will explode if bumped, pinched, or just looked at wrong. Another common name for the plant is Jewelweed, as the leaves become silvery when held under water, thanks to tiny air bubbles that become trapped in inside the leaves.