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What is Himalayan Balsam?

Date: August 14, 2015

Impatiens Glandulifera also known as Himalayan Balsam was introduced to the UK in 1839 and is now most often found on river banks.

Himalayan Balsam is the tallest annual plant in the UK growing up to 3 metres in height a year. It has highly visible pink flowers on fleshy hollow stems that are green in the Spring and become red as the year progresses. The flowers are followed by seed pods that open explosively when ripe and can project its seeds up to four metres

Problems cause by Himalayan Balsam:

  • Himalayan Balsam gradually weakens habitats by shading other vegetation causing it to die.
  • Each plant can produce up to 800 seeds which can disperse as widely as 7m.
  • When the plant establishes itself on or near a riverbank the seeds, which remain viable for up to two years, can be transported by water.
  • Himalayan Balsam produces a lot of pollen over a prolonged season and is attractive to pollinating insects. There is concern that its presence may therefore result in decreased pollination for other native plants.