Watch: caterpillars feeding on exploding touch-me-not seed pods


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I doff my cap to those brave Pod Disposal Officers of the Caterpillar Defence Force; risking their lives to defuse these dastardly devices that Mother Nature litters our forests with.


This could make the basis of a Pixar movie.


Garden nerd: striking resemblance between this plant, Impatiens noli-tangere and the North American Impatiens pallida. Wonder if it works for a poison ivy remedy like the North American version.


You’d have to import some poison ivy to Europe, as they don’t have it there.


Also works for stinging nettle, which is a native of Europe; American touch-me-not has a soothing, aloe-like juice from the crushed plant stems that makes a nice poultice. Used it, it feels better than a nasty itch.

Going down the invasive rabbithole, apparently Impatiens capensis, another poison ivy remedy, is invasive in this part of the UK, as well. So it won’t work. The cure is already loose there, so let’s not even bother bringing in another invader.


Correction: this isn’t David Attenborough narrating. The video is a snippet from the BBC programme ‘The Lake District: A Wild Year’, from 2017.
A contemporary press review said Exploding flowers and blurry mowers were all very well, but it was the voice of Bernard Cribbins that made me yearn for the Lakes.


Sproing! And another caterpillar goes flying…


Were the cartoon sound effects really necessary?


On the other hand, anything that could survive eating the sandbox tree’s fruit would be one tough critter. As exploding fruits go, that one must be the King of Kaboom.


The same thing happens to me when I eat a Taco Bell chimichanga.


Beautiful photography.

Hm. A previously-thought-to-be-extinct caterpillar, confined to a particular region, and its only food source explodes in its face?

Who’s its next-of-kin for sending a sympathy card?


In the UK, we traditionally use dock leaves (Rumex obtusifolius) for nettle stings. Wiki says dock is an invasive species in the US, so perhaps someone there has tried its effects on poison ivy.


Pity I ain’t got no time for watching and not much for commenting.

Did they name the butterfly/caterpillar? Scientific name, please, if available.

As for your discussion on natural remedies, y’all: most of this stuff is folk-lore, and mostly folklore. Regarding Rumex, e.g., it helps because you mechanically remove the injecting capillaries and apply some cooling liquid, AFAIR.

In case of I. capensis, it helps - but soap is more effective.


I don’t like the ASMR foley effects they’ve chosen to use on the time-lapse plant video. It’s put me right off nature, and I now favor Cumbria being turned into a giant industrial megaplex of bleak concrete and merciless steel.


Thanks Vince, I will make a correction!


Not really on topic, but why aren’t the plants called don’t-touch-mes, instead of touch-me-nots?


Yes they were!


Slighty older archaic English, perhaps? No doubt a folklore type name from a long way back.

Also not to be confused with …


It’s a bit behind the rest of the UK with that.

Carlisle built a single 11 floor office block (the civic centre) in the 1960s, and the protests were so bad that no-one has built a tower block in Cumbria since then. Now the older generations are fighting to have it knocked down and replaced with shops while millennials are trying to save it.