Himalayan balsam ( Impatiens glandulifera) is a very attractive but problematic plant, especially in the British Isles. About. Growing and spreading rapidly, it successfully competes with native plant species for space, light, nutrients and pollinators, and … Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is a relative of the busy Lizzie, but reaches well over head height, and is a major weed problem, especially on riverbanks and waste land, but can also invade gardens. Himalayan balsam grows in dense clumps and is a herbaceous annual plant, which is easily identifiable when mature. If you've ever wandered along a riverbank, pond or lake, we guarantee you will have seen it at least once! The plant is spread by two principal means; Plants that out-compete other more desirable plants or simply invade half the garden are classed as weeds and require control. Himalayan balsam grows and spreads quickly on river banks, waste ground and damp woodlands. However, less attention is paid to Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), a relative of the much-loved Busy Lizzie found in floral borders and displays across the UK, an annual plant which grows to about 2 m with purplish-pink slipper shaped flowers in June – August (CEH 2005). This website is still very much in development, and may change from time to time in the coming months. Hedgerow Type. The species is particularly frequent along the banks of watercourses, where it often forms continuous stands. How to identify: it grows up to 2-3m in height; it has red-tinged stems and green leaves; purplish pink flowers from June to October. Chemicals: using safely and effectively Himalayan balsam monoculture on the river Camel, Cornwall, UK. Weedkillers for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining weedkillers available to gardeners; see sections 3 and 4), Chemicals: using a sprayer Himalayan Balsam Toolbox Talk. Himalayan Balsam, Policemans Helmet, Bobby Tops, Copper Tops. It escaped into the wild and is now recorded throughout the UK, particularly along the banks of watercourses. Commonly found along riverbanks and streams, around ponds and lakes, in wet woodlands and in ditches and damp meadows. It is sometimes seen in gardens, either uninvited or grown deliberately, but care must be taken to ensure that it does not escape into the wild. Between June and October it produces clusters of purplish pink (or rarely white) helmet-shaped flowers. Himalayan balsam grows up to 3 m tall and is reputed to be the tallest annual plant found in the UK. It is a non-native, highly invasive weed that damages the habitats it finds itself in by crowding out our native species. Take care when applying weedkillers near ornamental plants. If you feel you could contribute, to make the site better, please do. 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 plants grow densely and stop the growth of other plants and grasses. Weeds: non-chemical control, Join Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm, Join the RHS today and support our charity. Himalayan balsam tolerates low light levels and also shades out other vegetation, so gradually impoverishing habitats by killing off other plants. It is locally c… Land managers often give up when faced with controlling Himalayan balsam over a large area due to the inaccessible places where the plant grows. Conservation authorities regularly organise ‘balsam bashing’ work parties to clear the weed from marshland and riverbanks. Chemicals: using spot and broad-scale weedkillers Himalayan Balsam is an invasive plant with easily identifiable pink or white heart-shaped flowers, that was introduced to the UK in 1839. Please contact the site manager if you have contributions or questions. It may take a couple of seasons to obtain good control of Himalayan balsam, as additional weed seedlings germinate after the parent plants are killed off. The more seeds we eat, the fewer seeds there will remain to spread this plant. Introduced to the UK in 1839, Himalayan balsam is now a naturalised plant, found especially on riverbanks and in waste places where it has become a problem weed. Useful links. It prefers moist soils but will grow anywhere. Find the Environmental Protection Act 1990 on the Legislation.gov.uk website. RHS Garden Hyde Hall Spring and Orchid Show, Free entry to RHS members at selected Click here for the latest Himalayan Balsam information leaflet. Himalayan Balsam Toolbox Talk. A native of the Western Himalaya, it was introduced in 1839 and is now recorded throughout Britain. It prefers moist soils but will grow pretty much anywhere. Common Names. Himalayan balsam is a tall growing annual, 2-3m (6-10ft) in height. A native of the Western Himalaya, it was introduced in 1839 to Kew Gardens as a greenhouse exotic. Join the RHS today and support our charitable work, Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully, For the latest on RHS Shows in 2020 and 2021, read more, RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens, Free entry to RHS members at selected times », Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops, Our Garden Centres and online shops are packed with unique and thoughtful gifts and decorations to make your Christmas sparkle, General enquiries It will be included in Scotland by the end of 2011. times, National Association of Agricultural and Amenity Contractors, Chemicals: using spot and broad-scale weedkillers, RHS Registered Charity no. The main method of non-chemical control, and usually the most appropriate, is pulling or cutting the plants before they flower and set seed. We aim to make this as useful as possible for people to go out an make a difference locally, and we need all the help we can get. It was introduced to the UK in 1839 and is now a … Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glanulifera) is an attractive looking flower, with a stout, hollow stem, trumpet shaped pink/white flowers and elliptical shaped green leaves. The plant has had plenty of time to establish in the UK and, over the last 50 years, has spread rapidly. Q6: Why is Himalayan balsam an invasive species? It can advise on suitably qualified contractors, as can the National Association of Agricultural and Amenity Contractors. Chemical control Users must be aware of the risks involved when using chemicals to control any plant especially as it tends to grows near water. the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9. • It is listed under schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside ... Find the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 on the Legislation.gov.uk website. Introduced to the UK in 1839, Himalayan balsam is now a naturalised plant, found especially on riverbanks and in waste places where it has become a problem weed. Top updates. Individual plants reach 2m in height, have translucent fleshy stems, pink-purple slipper-shaped flowers and large oval pointed leaves. These are dispersed widely as the ripe seedpods shoot their seeds up to 7m (22ft) away. The information on these pages has been pulled together by non-experts, through extensive web searches and limited consultation with experts. Glyphosate is most effective when weed growth is vigorous. This plant is the least harmful of our three main invasive species. Himalayan Balsam (HB) is considered to be the tallest growing annual plant in the UK (2-3m) It is a non-native alien species introduced by the Victorians for its pretty pink bell-like flowers prompting its common name ‘Policemen’s Helmets’. 0 ← Back. Himalayan Balsam can spread extremely rapidly thanks to the huge amount of seeds it can produce. Himalayan balsam grows up to 3 metres high with a hollow and bamboo-like … If this can't be achieved, consider using chemical methods. We would recommend you also look elsewhere for further information, possibly not covered on these pages. These seeds are stored in fruit capsules at the top of the plant, which when mature or prodded explode, spreading them far into the air and over a wide area (up to seven metres). See more about our latest safety campaigns. Plants can grow up to 3m tall, making this the tallest annual species growing wild in the UK. Fast Acting, Ecofective Weed Blast, ResolvaFast Weedkiller, Vitax Garden Weedkiller), fatty acids (SBM Solabiol Super Fast Weedkiller) or pelargonic acid (Doff 24/7 Fast Acting Weedkiller, Neudorff Weedfree Express, Westland Resolva Xpress Weedkiller, Roundup NL Weed Control) can be applied before flowering. Himalayan balsam tolerates low light levels and also shades out other vegetation, so gradually impoverishing habitats by … Himalayan Balsam is a tasty plant commonly eaten as curry in its native Northern India. Each plant can produce up to 800 seeds. Himalayan Balsam was introduced to the UK in 1839 as a greenhouse and warm garden plant and, within a few years had escaped into the wild. Before using weedkillers alongside waterways it is necessary to contact the Environment Agency (see telephone directory for your local office). Himalayan balsam is native to the foothills of the Himalayas, India and Pakistan, and was first released into the UK in 1839 as an ornamental garden plant. Contact weedkillers and glyphosate have low persistence in the soil, being virtually inactivated on soil contact. Himalayan balsam ( Impatiens glandulifera) is an invasive plant introduced to Britain in the mid 19th Century by Victorian gardeners. What is Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) Himalayan Balsam, commonly known as Indian Balsam and Policemans Helmet, is an invasive non native annual plant which has quickly infested the banks of British waterways shading out the native British plants … Himalayan balsam was introduced as a garden plant in 1839, but soon escaped and became widely naturalised along riverbanks and ditches, especially close to towns. Himalayan or Indian balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is an annual herb and was introduced to Britain in 1839. Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is an introduced summer annual that has naturalised in the UK, mainly along riverbanks and ditches. It grows rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes. RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team. 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. Colonising rail and river banks, wastelands and woodlands, Himalayan balsam was introduced to the British Isles in 1839 by Victorian plant hunters who were keen on its beautiful pink flowers and exploding seed pods. Himalayan balsam is a non-native invasive terrestrial plant species. Some parts of Himalayan Balsam are edible, and the flowers can be used to make ‘champagne’ similar to that which is made with elderflowers. The flowers are followed by seed pods that open explosively when ripe. By foraging for this free food you can help your budget and the environment. 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. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. Invasive Himalayan balsam can also adve… Himalayan balsam (Inpatiens glandulifera) is a large annually growing plant that is native to the Himalayan mountains.Due to human introduction, it has now spread across much of the Northern Hemisphere. Its aggressive seed dispersal, coupled with high nectar production which attracts pollinators, often allow it to outcompete native plants. Himalayan balsam also promotes river bank erosion due to the plant dying back over winter, leaving the bank unprotected from flooding. We would recommend you also look elsewhere for further information, possibly not covered on these pages. Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) Controlling the Spread of Himalayan Balsam The Plant. Himalayan balsam is an introduced annual naturalised along riverbanks and ditches. Himalayan balsam is sometimes cultivated for its flowers. Residual weedkillers persist in the soil for several weeks or months and can move deeper or sideways in the soil, leading to possible damage of underlying plant roots. It grows in dense stands and can be up to 2m tall. Where non-chemical control methods are not feasible, chemical controls may need to be used. You may well have heard of Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) as it increasingly features in our press. It is now widely established in other parts of the world (such as the British Isles and North America), in some cases becoming a weed. Safety Bulletins 163.67 views per day | under Safety Bulletin; Jargon Buster 105 views per day | under Tools; Treat Himalayan balsam at early flowering stage to ensure the weed is knocked back before it has chance to self-seed. Produced by Cymdeithas Llandudoch, St Dogmaels Community Association The information on these pages has been pulled together by non-experts, through extensive web searches and limited consultation with experts. As such, it is an offence to plant or otherwise allow it to grow in the wild. Himalayan Balsam was added to Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in April 2009 in Wales and England. It is fast-growing and spreads quickly, invading wet habitat at the expense of other, native flowers. First, consider whether this can be done using non-chemical means such as pulling or digging out, or suppressing with mulch. 222879/SC038262, The most widespread distribution tends to be by human means where individuals pass on seed to friends, Once established in the catchment of a river the seeds, which can remain viable for two years, are transported further afield by water. What is Himalayan Balsam? Once growing, Himalayan Balsam can spread at a fearsome rate and the problem here is now so huge that in the central Lake District alone, our Rangers and volunteers spend at least 50 days between them tackling the plant every year. The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. Introduced in the 19 th Century as a garden plant because of its imposing stature and attractive flowers, it quickly spread into the wild and is common in the UK. Glyphosate is a non-selective, systemic weedkiller that is applied to the foliage. Cover them with plastic sheeting while spraying, and only remove it once the spray has dried on the weed foliage. Choose a weedkiller that is most appropriate for the purpose by reading the label carefully before buying or using. It starves native plants from sunlight and mineral, leaving riverbanks more susceptible to erosion. Schedule 9: The main piece of […] This non native plant, introduced by the Victorians, is quickly becoming more common due to its seed dispersal and as it can grow from seed to two and a half metres in one season can crowd out native plants. 020 3176 5800 Himalayan Balsam is not toxic to humans, although some people may be allergic to its pollen. Click here for the latest Himalayan Balsam information leaflet. It has an explosive seed capsule, which scatters seeds over a distance of up to 7m. Inclusion of a weedkiller product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. • Himalayan balsam is an annual plant with bright purple-pink flowers. It successfully competes with native plant species for space, light, nutrients and pollinators, and excludes other plant growth, thereby reducing native biodiversity. Its common name is “Policeman’s Helmet” due to the shape of the flowers. Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) has quickly become one of the UK s most invasive weed species, colonising river banks, waste ground and damp woodlands. Himalayan balsam can be controlled with a weedkiller based on glyphosate (e.g. Roundup Fast Action, Westland Resolva Pro Xtra Tough Weedkiller, SBM Job done General Purpose Weedkiller or Doff Maxi Strength Glyphosate Weedkiller). 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