Orange jewelweed is common across much of Canada and the United States. It is found in moist soils, often in ditches and along streams. Its close relative Impatiens pallida, which differs primarily in having pale yellow flowers, shares its eastern range. Both plants bloom for a few months from mid-summer to fall, attracting hummingbirds, bees and various other insects. The flowers are two and a half cm (1 in.) long and have a conical shape, with upper and lower lips at the open end. As in other flowers, the lower lips serve as a landing pad for insects. Impatiens capensis is also called touch-me-not, referring to an action caused by touching the seed pods: the pods expel the seed as projectiles when touched. The images in the link to the Impatiens pallida page show a view of the seed pod before and after this process.
Jewelweed has traditionally been used to treat skin irritations–notably reactions to poison ivy and nettles, which often grow in the same areas. Controlled studies have not shown the plant to be an effective treatment for these conditions. Research has found fungicidal properties in the plant however, and it has been used to treat athlete’s foot.
I took this photo in early August. I had visited the visitor centre before and enjoyed its wonderful displays about the ecology of the Adirondacks. On this visit, I was informed that budget cuts were closing the centre–I think it is to close October 10. I believe the property will be managed by Paul Smiths College, but have no idea if they will open any trails to the public.