Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)

Impatiens glandulifera commonly known as Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam grows rapidly and spreads quickly throughout your garden. It is a major weed problem, specifically on waste land and river banks. If a site has been flattened and left for a short period of time, Himalayan Balsam quickly sprouts in the vegetation and duplicates quickly, covering the site. It spreads quickly due to seed dispersal by the wind. An adult plant can have up to 50,000 seeds! On river banks, the seeds are spread via water and the plant quickly duplicates along the banks of the river.

Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)Distinguishing between Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed

Himalayan Balsam can easily be misidentified as Japanese Knotweed due to the rate at which it grows at and also how tall it can become. It also has a hollow stem like Japanese Knotweed does. It flowers in mid to late summer; however, the flowers are large and pink, whereas the flowers on Japanese Knotweed are small and white. When not in flower you can also spot it by its leaves which are longer and thinner than Japanese Knotweed leaves.

Interesting Facts

  • The explosion of the fruit capsule can spread seeds up to 7 metres
  • It is the tallest annual plant in Europe
  • It is native to the Himalayas
  • Common names for this plant are Policeman’s Hat, Bobby Tops, Copper Tops and Gnomes Hatstand.

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