Himalayan Balsam (sort of)

We had a power interruption for six hours today. Something to do with the need to lop branches from trees and they had to turn us off while they did it.

Fizz and I went for a walk in the forest and we got lost.  It was one of those times when we didn’t need to take a compass, we won’t be going that far.


We took a wrong turn and wandered for about an hour and while we were wandering we came across this little beauty.

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan BalsamII knew what it was but I still had to look twice and double check because I have never seen it growing in the middle of the forest like this before.

Himalayan BalsamJust one little plant all on it’s own. It looked so sweet, I had to think, “What’s all the fuss about?”

This isn’t a very good depiction of the habit. Himalayan Balsam normally grows eight to ten feet tall in huge stands. It is an invasive non-native species usually found on river banks where it smothers all the native plants. It spreads quickly along rivers because the seed pods have an explosive action that throws the seeds up to twenty feet from the parent plant and they are carried downstream to establish themselves further along the express way.

Almost every country in the world has a problem with Himalayan Balsam.

It is a very pretty flower.

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan BalsamIt is probably just being pretty that has caused all of the problems. It was originally brought here as a garden plant. People deliberately spread the seed into the wild. There are well documented cases of individuals who purposely spread seed along river banks and carried it to Ireland, just to spread the joy.

If it had stayed like the one that I am showing you today there would be no problem. A pretty solitary little wildflower to find once in a while on a woodland walk.

It doesn’t stay like this, it is a monster unleashed and our poor little Bramble and Bracken and Nettles just can’t cope with it.

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan BalsamWe should have ate this one. The whole plant is edible but read that as not poisonous, it is not very good.

9 thoughts on “Himalayan Balsam (sort of)”

  1. I remember when it first arrived, there were attempts to slash it, esp in the Wye valley. Well, that worked well. I met a botanist who said it was just growing in damp places where nothing else grew. Yeah, right. It’s pretty enough, but smells of stale talcum powder.


  2. . . . shoulda kilt it . . . years from now, after it has choked out the native plants, you will look back at this moment and curse your compassion for this advance scout for the coming army . . .


  3. It’s nature, isn’t it. Some plants take over and destroy others, just as some animals kill others. Who is to decide what lives and what dies?
    I happen to think it is rather beautiful. Bad news, but beautiful. It must have some purpose. Nature will balance things out in the end!


    1. The main problem, however, is that we get in Nature’s way and interrupt the process. Australia has too many examples of destruction by invasive plants and animals. All are caused by well-meaning people thinking it was a good thing at the time.


  4. Very attractive and interesting looking flower. Almost looks a bit like an orchid in the centre (on that close-up 7th photo down).

    I really rather like it.


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