23 August 2010

Himalayan Balsam

this plant was seen growing in someone's yard with more small plants nearby

Himalayan balsam:

  • grows in moist conditions and is commonly found along river banks, stream beds and creeks
  • stems are red in colour
  • leaves are dark green and lance shaped with jagged edges
  • flowers are shaped somewhat like a snapdragon and vary in colour from pink to purple and sometimes white
  • flowers summer through fall from June to October
  • can grow up to 2 metres high and sometimes 3 metres high (though rarely)
  • Himalayan Balsam is an annual
  • each plant produces between 700-800 seeds
  • seed pods are explosive and can throw seeds over 6 metres away from the original plant.

In the city of Edmonton, Himalayan Balsam is listed as an invasive weed.  Growing it on private property is prohibited.  Though, I don't believe that it is yet common knowledge.  (Case in point, the above photo)  So, I am doing my part in getting the word out.

Species/ Impatiens glandulifera
Common Names/ Policeman’s Helmet, Indian Balsam
Sometimes known as Himalayan Impatiens



Shirley said...

The Himalayan Balsam is also considered an invasive weed in the UK as well as parts of North America. Where it grows in the Himalayas it is not an issue, probably due to the shorter growing season.

Shirley said...

I spent the weekend in Cold Lake, Alberta where I was shocked to see plantings of Himalayan Balsam everywhere! Even some of the city plantings contain this noxious weed!


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