The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Pale Jewelweed
Impatiens pallida is an annual plant that can grow up to 1.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Regular ingestion of large quantities of these plants can be dangerous due to their high mineral content[
]. This report, which seems nonsensical, might refer to calcium oxalate. This mineral is found in I. capensis and so is probably also in other members of the genus. It can be harmful raw but is destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant[
]. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet[
Eastern N. America - Newfoundland to Saskatchewan, south to Georgia.
Moist woodland and wet meadows, usually on calcareous soils[
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich soil in a cool site[
The plant is hardy to about -5°c[
]. It should be possible to grow it as a spring-sown annual in most parts of Britain.
This plant has seed capsules that spring open forcibly as the seed ripens to eject the seed a considerable distance. The capsules are sensitive to touch even before the seed is ripe, making seed collection difficult but fun[
Young leaves and shoots - cooked[
]. Added to sukiyaki, chow mein and other oriental dishes[
]. When used as a vegetable on their own the cooking water should be changed once or twice during the cooking[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes on toxicity at the top of the record.
]. No more details are given but the seeds are difficult to harvest in quantity, mainly because of their exploding seed capsules which scatter the ripe seed at the slightest touch[
The whole plant is diuretic, emetic and purgative[
]. It is only used externally, the soothing and medicinal sap is a proven remedy for nettle stings and poison ivy rash[
] and is also used in the treatment of warts, corns, ringworm and haemorrhoids[
A fungicide is obtained from the plant. It is used to treat skin diseases[
]. There are no more details but it is probably obtained from the fresh juice of the plant and can be concentrated by boiling up the juice.
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.