Himalayan balsam, Caister St Edmund, Elizabeth Dack 1/2
Himalayan balsam, Dunstan Common, Elizabeth Dack 2/2

Himalayan balsam Impatiens glandulifera

The highly invasive non-native, purplish-pink, Himalayan balsam plant grows in dense stands which shade out native plants. This plant needs to be heavily managed by either cutting the plant's stem below its lowest node, or pulling it out of the ground before it seeds, which can occur from mid July onwards.

Conservation status

Himalayan balsam is an aggressive, invasive non-native plant. Dense stands suffocate other plants, so when it dies back in winter it leaves bare river banks which are more vulnerable to erosion. It also produces copious amounts of nectar which attracts pollinators away from native plants.

Details

Did you know?

Himalayan balsam has a number of alternative names – Indian balsam, poor man’s orchid, and Policeman’s helmet, as the flowers resemble that particular headgear. Another name for the plant is kiss-me-on-the-mountain due to its connection with the Himalayas.

It is closely related to the common bedding plant busy-lizzie but is much bigger!

 

How to recognise
Where to see
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How to help

Related reserves

Related questions & advice

What is an alien wildlife species?
Himalayan balsam How do I recognise it?

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April 2014
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