pale touch-me-not

(Impatiens pallida)

Conservation Status
pale touch-me-not
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland


FACW - Facultative wetland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland


Pale touch-me-not is a 2 to 6 tall, erect, annual forb that rises from a shallow, branching taproot. It often forms colonies

The stems are erect, hairless, branched above the middle, light green, and translucent. They are succulent, hollow, and easily broken. They are often covered with a whitish, waxy coating (glaucous).

The leaves are alternate, egg-shaped or elliptic, and thin. They are 1 to 4 long and up to 2 wide, less than 3 times longer than wide. They are on leaf stalks up to 2 long, the stalk usually shorter than the blade. The upper surface is blue-green or glaucous and hairless. The lower surface is hairless. The margins have rounded, forward-pointing teeth. The teeth are tipped with a short, sharp, whitish, abrupt point. The leaves on flowering branches are usually more than 3 long.

The inflorescence is a widely-spreading cluster of 1 to 3 flowers rising from the upper leaf axils. The flowers are held horizontally on ¾ to 1 long, drooping stalks.

The flowers are 1 to 1½ long. There are 3 petal-like sepals and 5 petals. The upper 2 sepals are yellow, small, and located behind the upper lip. The lower sepal is yellow. It is modified to form a bowl-shaped tube ending in a narrow nectar spur. The bowl-shaped portion of the sepal is about as long as it is wide. The spur is to ¼ long, hairless, and is held at a right angle to the flower body, pointing downward.

The petals are yellow and often dotted with reddish-brown. One petal forms the upper lip. It is short and wide and curves upward. The four remaining petals are fused in pairs to form two lobed, lateral petals. The lobes of these petals spread outwards forming a pair of landing pads for pollinating insects. Near the upper lip are 5 stamens fused together forming a cap over the pistil. There is no floral scent.

The fruit is a slender, hairless, 5-valved capsule about ¾ long. When ripe it explodes if touched or jarred, releasing its seeds.




2 to 6


Flower Color




Similar Species

  Spotted touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis) is usually a smaller plant. The leaves on flowering branches are no more than 3 long. The flowers are smaller, ¾ to 1 long, and are orange. The tube formed by the lower sepal is longer and cone-shaped, longer than wide. The spur is longer, ¼ to long, and is curved forward and held close to the body of the flower. The petals are orange. It is more common than pale touch-me-not and is found in sunnier, more open locations.  

Moist. Woods, forests, meadows, stream banks. Light shade to partial sun.




July to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Ericales (heathers, balsams, primroses, and allies)  


Balsaminaceae (balsam)  


Impatiens (touch-me-nots)  

Subordinate Taxa








Common Names




pale snapweed

pale touch-me-not


yellow jewelweed

yellow touch-me-not














The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



Having thick leaves, stems, or roots that store water. Succulent tissues appear fleshy externally and juicy internally.

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Alfredo Colon

    pale touch-me-not      


    pale touch-me-not   pale touch-me-not  


    pale touch-me-not   pale touch-me-not  


    pale touch-me-not   pale touch-me-not  



  Impatiens pallida (Pale Touch-me-not)
Allen Chartier
  Impatiens pallida (Pale Touch-me-not)  



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Other Videos
  Jewelweed / touch-me-not
Marc Perroquet

Published on Sep 22, 2013

I decided to redo this little video.

Impatiens pallida / Pale or Yellow jewelweed / touch-me-nots

  Bumblebee visits pale jewelweed
Robert Klips

Uploaded on Mar 15, 2011

Jewelweed, Impatiens pallida (Balsaminaceae) is an annual plant well known as a poison-ivy remedy and also for its delightful fruits that split apart when pinched, flinging their seeds a great distance. This specimen was videoed August 2010 in Licking County, Ohio, USA.




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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Albany, NY

pale touch-me-not  




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