While it comes from Asia, it has spread into other habitats, where it pushes out native plants and can wreak serious havoc on the environment. Himalayan balsam plants are native to Asia. It prefers moist soils but will grow pretty much anywhere. 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! Himalayan balsam is an annual herb, native to the western Himalayas. After flowering it produces seeds for the following year and when touched the seed pod bursts and sends the seeds flying in all directions. This plant is the least harmful of our three main invasive species. If you liked this story, like & follow us on Facebook for more. Plants can grow up to 3m tall, making this the tallest annual species growing wild in the UK. Himalayan balsam (Inpatiens glandulifera) is a large annually growing plant that is native to the Himalayan mountains. Land managers often give up when faced with controlling Himalayan balsam over a large area due to… Its exploding seed pods allow the plant to rapidly spread into nearly impregnable thickets that reach over 3-meters-tall, smothering all other plant life to death. It is locally c… 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. sterilised bottles Tree cookies: thin slices of sustainably-harvested branches, to make discs of 5-10cm diameter, and decorated with permanent pens or a pyrography pen. It is important that this plant is controlled and not allowed to produce seeds that will be next year’s plant. Because it is so tall, it will often shade out shorter native plants. A pint glass full of your favourite wild edible flowers with all the green bit removed or for a really floral drink, two pint glasses. Interestingly, the plant’s Latin name, Impatiens glandulifera, speaks of its impatience to spread far and wide, using a fascinating evolutionary mechanism. It escaped into the wild and is now recorded throughout the UK, particularly along the banks of watercourses. The plant is attracted to damp areas like river banks, where it grows in clusters that can reach 10 feet (3 m.) in height. Wild Summer flower cordial and Pine needle cordial. It is also commonly referred to as Indian Balsam. The best time is early to mid-summer, before the seeds have matured. Himalayan Balsam has an orchid shaped flower resembling a British policeman’s helmet, which gave rise to its other common name of “Policeman’s helmet”. How to Make a Magical Himalayan Balsam Gin • Craft Invaders and protect other plant life. The main issue with this plant is that it’s very aggressive, muscling out native plants until it’s the only one left. . It flowers predominantly in July and August and is particularly prevalent either side of the Brig o Dee, the Persley Bridge , the Diamond Bridge, along Seaton Park and at Donmouth. The flowers are followed by seed pods that open explosively when ripe. You may have seen Himalayan Balsam when walking along the banks of the River Dee or the River Don. Like other balsam flowers, the plant reproduces by seed, and it will put out up to 800 of them every year. However, despite the plant being valued for these reasons, Himalayan Balsam is actually … Written by. Himalayan balsam is an attractive, non-native invasive terrestrial plant species. 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. To fight Himalayan balsam, plants must be chopped down, or pulled up as they come into flower in June or July. 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. It commonly grows along linear corridors which facilitate its spread such as rivers or disused railway lines. This is often because the plant grows in inaccessible areas or sites of high conservation status where chemical and/or manual control is not an option. Himalayan balsam is the tallest annual plant in Europe; each stem can be 2.5 metres tall. • 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. Himalayan balsam is native to the Himalayas, specifically to the areas between Kashmir and Uttarakhand. e9.snackbar = true; Himalayan Balsam is an annual plant and produces colourful flowers. 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. There was a time when the plant was marketed as a novelty attraction for children, under the name ” Mr. Noisy’s Exploding Plant”, and despite its now known invasive tendencies people still love popping those pods every chance they get. The tall, pretty pink flower spikes of rosebay willowherb ( Chamaenerion angustifolium ) are a common sight on railway banks and disturbed woodland. • It was introduced as an ornamental plant in the early nineteenth century. It was introduced to the UK in 1839 and is now a … That’s particularly problematic on riverbeds, where it leaves vast swaths of land exposed to harsh winters as well as erosion. Keep reading to learn more about how to control Himalayan balsam plants. Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is an introduced summer annual that has naturalised in the UK, mainly along riverbanks and ditches. • Himalayan balsam is an annual plant with bright purple-pink flowers. It has an explosive seed capsule, which scatters seeds over a distance of up to 7m. You see, this isn’t just another invasive weed, it’s a very attractive one. The more seeds we eat, the fewer seeds there will remain to spread this plant. Dependent on local climate, Himalayan balsam flowers between July and October. “In the winter it dies back and leaves bare soil, so then you’ve got a risk of soil erosion and it can contribute to flash flooding.”. A native of the Western Himalaya, it was introduced in 1839 to Kew Gardens as a greenhouse exotic. The species has the ability to regrow from the lowest node in the same season therefore control efforts need to remove the However, humans have played a pretty big part in its successful colonization of the world. Himalayan balsam is an annual, however, and it dies back in the winter, leaving bare spaces that would normally be inhabited by native grasses. Often nicknamed the Police Helmet plant, Himalayan Balsam can grow up between 1 … Habitat Description: Himalayan Balsam grows in moist and semi-shaded damp places including waste ground, and thin woodlands. Himalayan Balsam regrows annually from the seeds which are viable for 2 years therefore any control efforts must be carried out before the seed pods are produced for maximum effect. To combat the effects of Himalayan Balsam on the environment, conservationists regularly organize clearing parties to uproot the plant from particularly sensitive areas. Himalayan balsam is a tall growing annual, 2-3m (6-10ft) in height. Himalayan balsam: controlling it on your land, file type: PDF, file size: 3 MB . 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. This cordial is perfect for introducing nettles to the family as a food stuff, another great example is our easy stinging nettle crisps. Please tell us the format you need. 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. It is vehemently hated by some and actively persecuted by others. It was introduced to Kew Gardens in 1839 and is thought to have mainly been spread by people passing seeds to each other. The species is particularly frequent along the banks of watercourses, where it often forms continuous stands. It is a useful nectar source for pollinators but self-seeds readily making it a troublesome garden weed. It grows in dense stands and can be up to 2m tall. Since it was introduced, it has spread to most parts of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. These seeds can travel a short distance through the air or miles and miles if they get caught up in a river or stream. (red clover, elderflower, dandelion, sow thistle, wild rose petals, rosebay willow herb, Himalayan balsam are all good choices) 1 sliced lemon 2 tsp of citric acid (OR the juice of a lemon) 1.5 kg/3 lbs of sugar “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. Himalayan Balsam is, as the name suggests, native to India, more specifically to the Himalayas. Himalayan Balsam can very quickly be identified through the cluster of purple/pink, helmet-shaped flowers it produces. Growing and spreading rapidly, it successfully competes with native plant species for space, light, nutrients and pollinators, and … The most effective method of controlling Himalayan balsam is cutting and hand pulling. e9 = new Object(); By foraging for this free food you can help your budget and the environment. Apart from its attractive flowers, the exploding seed pods made it uniquely appealing. Himalayan balsam ( Impatiens glandulifera) is a very attractive but problematic plant, especially in the British Isles. It’s important to time your Himalayan balsam control so you don’t inadvertently spread more seeds. This leaves the river banks vulnerable to serious erosion. 3 MB. Foliage The foliage is opposite or whorled. It successfully competes with native plant species for space, light, nutrients and pollinators, and excludes other plant growth, thereby reducing native biodiversity. In the early 19th century, they were brought to the British Isles to be planted in gardens, and before long they escaped into the wild, where they continue to cause a number of serious problems. The stems are purple tinged, hollow and hexagonally angled. Appearance Impatiens glandulifera is a succulent annual than can be 3-10 ft. (0.9-3 m) tall. Himalayan Balsam is a tasty plant commonly eaten as curry in its native Northern India. Controlling Himalayan balsam is a two part endeavor – removing existing plants and preventing the spread of seed. It should not be planted, and Himalayan balsam control should be implemented if you find it on your property. It has been blamed for natural disasters such as landslides and altering the flow of rivers, which leads to flooding. 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. It is also a vigorous producer of nectar, which draws pollinators away from native plants, putting their pollination and reproduction in jeopardy. //-->. Himalayan Balsam - Free food. A native of India and Pakistan, the Himalayan Balsam has managed to invade 23 European countries, as well as the United States, Canada and even New Zealand. Himalayan Balsam is an annual plant and produces colourful flowers. The plant is an annual, so if caught early it quickly vanishes. Traditional control methods are currently inadequate in controlling Himalayan balsam in the UK. . When ripe, the seed pods of the Himalayan Balsam will explode at the slightest of stimuli. Sign up for our newsletter. This nettle cordial recipe, from the book ‘The Eatweeds Cookbook’ by Robin Harford is delicious and the perfect way to introduce kids to nettles as a wild food. Leaves are lanceolate to lance-ovate with acuminate tips. 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. Today, many communities around the world are struggling to keep the plant in check, organizing seasonal “bashing” sessions to clear large swathes of land. 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. The explosion of the Himalayan balsam’s fruit capsule can fire seeds up to seven metres. The Balsam has these beautiful purple flowers that people love so much that they historically spread seeds in the wild just so they could see them on the sides of roads. While it comes from Asia, it has spread into other habitats, where it pushes out native plants and can wreak serious havoc on the environment. If you use assistive technology please tell us what this is. Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glanulifera) is an attractive looking flower, with a stout, hollow stem, trumpet shaped pink/white flowers and elliptical shaped green leaves.