poetry and prose about place

along the country road #5

with 4 comments

Not far from where I live is a new road,  built a few years ago along the edge of a field.   When it was first built, it was a scar on the land, its ditches unlovely smears of muck. 

This year,  the weeds of the roadside have moved in to fill the empty spaces with green.  At one place, where the new road joins the old, it is particularly wet and the ditches have been overwhelmed with a green and orange explosion of Jewel Weed.

Jewel Weed growing with cattails in a wet ditch

 Jewel weed grows in wet springy places, in swampy woods, along brooks, and in ditches. Its masses of green foliage are hung with spurred, lobed flowers, orange, yellow or cream coloured with spots at the throat. 
Jewel weed is also called spotted snapweed, spotted touch-me-not, lady’s earrings, Celandine, Solentine, impatiente (the French name for the genus), and chou sauvage.  The names snapweed and touch-me-not, as well as the generic name, Latin for impatient, refer to the sudden bursting of the seed capsule when it is touched. 

a profusion of Jewel Weed

 The botanist, Nicolaas Meerburgh, who first named the plant, called it capensis, meaning “of the cape” since he wrongly thought it had been introduced from the Cape of Good Hope into European gardens.

Jewel Weed (Impatiens capensis Meerb.)



Jewel Weed

            Impatiens capensis Meerb.


Jewel Weed

orange and green

tangled in the gully

spotted spurred


            for a visit

            from a hummingbird


Jewel Weed

            not used as gems

                        for lady’s ears

            not (after all)

                        from the Cape

                        of Good Hope-

Celandine tends

to mope


Jewel Weed




 or I fling

 seeds from my pods

 into the spring” 



© Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 15, 2011 at 9:46 am

4 Responses

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  1. Enjoyed your playful poem and the lovely pictures. Is this wild impatiens related to the cultivated impatiens we buy for our shade gardens at the nursery?


    Barbara Rodgers

    August 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    • Hi. Yes, they are the same species. The leaves are very similar. I think the flowers vary quite a bit from species to species. Jane


      jane tims

      August 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm

  2. One of my favorite wildflowers! In my area, the yellow variety is somewhat more prevalent than the orange, but it is all quite beautiful. Bees love it too.

    Very interesting story about its Latin name!


    Watching Seasons

    August 16, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    • Hi. Glad you stopped by. I am a botanist and interested in plant taxonomy, hence the focus on the derivation of the names. Jane


      jane tims

      August 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm

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