Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is an exotic-looking annual that has pink, helmet-shaped flowers (also known as "policeman’s helmet”), rapid growth, and an entertaining mode of explosive seed dispersal. “The problem with it is that it creates quite vast stands which compete with our native flora,” Emma Harrington, of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, told the BBC. PDF. The species has the ability to regrow from the lowest node in the same season therefore control efforts need to remove the Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) has rapidly become one of the UK’s most invasive weed species, colonising river banks, waste ground and damp woodlands. It should not be planted, and Himalayan balsam control should be implemented if you find it on your property. The threat of the Himalayan Balsam has been compared to that of Japanese Knotweed, another invasive plant the spread of which has so far proved virtually impossible to control. The most effective method of controlling Himalayan balsam is cutting and hand pulling. Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is known to many people as an attractive plant with a familiar sweet scent, and a reputation for being a good nectar source for bees. The Himalayan Balsam was introduced in the UK in 1839 as a greenhouse and garden plant, but it only took a few decades for it to escape into the wild. The problem is that such actions need careful planning, as if the pods are ripe, the slightest touch can cause them to pop, shooting fresh seeds everywhere and keeping the cycle going. Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) has rapidly become one of the UK’s most widespread invasive weed species, colonising river banks, waste land, damp woodlands, roadways and railways.It reaches well over head height, and is a major weed problem. e9 = new Object(); The explosion of the Himalayan balsam’s fruit capsule can fire seeds up to seven metres. It has an explosive seed capsule, which scatters seeds over a distance of up to 7m. Unfortunately, this species is extremely invasive in moist, shaded environments, and is now swiftly spreading through the watercourses of the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. It prefers moist soils but will grow pretty much anywhere. It was introduced to Kew Gardens in 1839 and is thought to have mainly been spread by people passing seeds to each other. However, humans have played a pretty big part in its successful colonization of the world. The plant is an annual, so if caught early it quickly vanishes. When ripe, the seed pods of the Himalayan Balsam will explode at the slightest of stimuli. Growing and spreading rapidly, it successfully competes with native plant species for space, light, nutrients and pollinators, and … If you’re getting rid of Himalayan balsam plants by hand, let the cut plants lie on the ground in the sun for a few days to dry out and die before composting them. The Himalayan Balsam was introduced in the UK in 1839 as a greenhouse and garden plant, but it only took a few decades for it to escape into the wild. It’s important to time your Himalayan balsam control so you don’t inadvertently spread more seeds. . You may have seen Himalayan Balsam when walking along the banks of the River Dee or the River Don. Controlling Himalayan balsam is a two part endeavor – removing existing plants and preventing the spread of seed. Himalayan balsam is an annual herb, native to the western Himalayas. However, it does have some redeeming features and whilst I can understand the reasons for it being much despised I feel somebody has to speak up in support of this controversial but defenceless and, even though invidious of me to say it, invaluable plant! 3 MB. Appearance Impatiens glandulifera is a succulent annual than can be 3-10 ft. (0.9-3 m) tall. Herbicides also work but only as a last resort. The more seeds we eat, the fewer seeds there will remain to spread this plant. Himalayan balsam is native to the Himalayas, specifically to the areas between Kashmir and Uttarakhand. A native of the Western Himalaya, it was introduced in 1839 to Kew Gardens as a greenhouse exotic. Every plant has dozens of pods which contain an average of 800 seeds, so a thicket of  Himalayan Balsam can contain up to 30,000 of these tiny bullets just waiting to take root. Leaves are lanceolate to lance-ovate with acuminate tips. • It is listed under schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – it is an offence to plant or cause this species to grow in the wild. The plant is attracted to damp areas like river banks, where it grows in clusters that can reach 10 feet (3 m.) in height. //-->. Impatiens glandulifera, commonly known as the Himalayan Balsam, is an invasive plant with a very peculiar colonizing system – its seed pods literally explode when touched or otherwise disturbed, shooting the seeds up to 7 meters in every direction. These seeds can travel a short distance through the air or miles and miles if they get caught up in a river or stream. Related. The flowers are followed by seed pods that open explosively when ripe. If you need a more accessible version of this document please email digital@gov.wales. It is also commonly referred to as Indian Balsam. Written by. Often nicknamed the Police Helmet plant, Himalayan Balsam can grow up between 1 … In its native range it is usually found in altitudes between 2000–2500 m above sea level, although it has been reported in up to 4000 m above sea level. Is also a vigorous producer of nectar, which scatters seeds over a distance of up get. Food you can help your budget and the Republic of Ireland of Himalayan! 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