Himalayan Balsam

NWIPC NWIPC NWIPC NWIPC Marc Gamelain

Plant Bio

Common Name:Himalayan balsam
Family:Balsaminaceae
Genus:Impatiens
Species:glandulifera
Classification/Rank:Extremely Invasive
Method of Transportation:Escaped garden ornamental. Explosive seed pods eject seeds away from the plant; seeds are buoyant and easily float to new locations downstream. These hardy seeds are even able to germinated while under water and easily take root in stream beds and riparian zones.
Habitat/Range:Escapes from gardens and grows well in moist, rich soils. Forms colonies along rivers, stream banks, riparian zones and ditch banks.

Description

Impatiens glandulifera, also known as Policeman's helmut, it an impressive but very invasive garden escapee in our region. It prefers to grow in moist habitats along river edges, riparian areas and wetlands.It is an annual and a prolific seed producer. Seed pods eject seeds as far as 6 meters when disturbed or touched, which can make removal difficult. This plant has a shallow and rather weak root system that can increase erosion along streams when the plant dies back in the fall. However, this also makes the plant extremely easy to hand-pull before it flowers in the spring. Pulled sites need to monitored for several years due to the longevity of the many seeds Himalayan balsam produces. Read more about alternatives to plant in the Grow Me Instead booklet for BC.

If you have any questions or wish to report this plant please call the Weeds Hotline at 1-866-44WEEDS or use the Report-A-Weed application. 

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