Odd Orange or Yellow Flowers by the Roadside

Wild Impatiens Native to America

Orange and Yellow Touch-Me-Nots
Orange and Yellow Touch-Me-Nots

Along roads and in culverts, especially near a little shade, grow these strange-looking flowers that appear sort of like a trumpet with parted lips on one end and a curly tail on the opposite end.

Their red-spotted orange or yellow flowers invite bees of all kinds and would be excellent additions to gardens where tall plants are desired. Growing 3 to 5 feet tall, they often tip to the side with windy or rainy weather.

Note: If you’re gardening with these Native American Impatiens, you might want to use some type of garden stake to keep them held high.

The two plants are closely related species of Impatiens referred to as Jewelweeds or Touch-Me-Nots.

Flowers and Buds of Spotted Touch-Me-Not
Flowers and Buds of Spotted Touch-Me-Not

The orange-flowered Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, is called Spotted Touch-Me-Not.

Flower Opening Up Near Buds of Pale Touch-Me-Not
Flower Opening Up Near Buds of Pale Touch-Me-Not

It’s yellow-flowering cousin, I. pallida, is called Pale Touch-Me-Not.

The plants are very similar except for the different flower colors and that the paler, yellow one has a shorter spur at the end of the tubular flower.

The Jewelweeds start flowering in July and may bloom to October.

Stand of Touch-Me-Nots Near the River
Stand of Touch-Me-Nots Near the River

A grouping of mostly the orange flowers had a few yellow flowers mixed in the bunch at Millerstown Park, which is adjacent to the Juniata River. They were in a partially shaded area growing under a small grouping of oak trees.

We usually see pure stands of one species or the other. This is the first time I’ve witnessed both kinds flowering side-by-side and I’m wondering if that isn’t typical. Anybody care to share their blooming observations on these odd flowers?

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