By growing to such a height and exploding it can disperse its seeds maybe 3-5 m from the original plant, which can cast into the river and carried on by the flow. In Britain, Himalayan Balsam is regarded as one of the top-ten most wanted species that have caused significant environmental impact. It is essential that the plant is removed before the seed is set. Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is an exotic-looking annual that has pink, helmet-shaped flowers (also known as "policeman’s helmet”), rapid growth, and an entertaining mode of explosive seed dispersal. the seeds are sticky and can adhere to animals aiding the dispersal of seeds. It is not native to the UK and the species originates from the Himalayan areas of Pakistan, India and the Kashmir region. Impatiens glandulifera is a large annual plant native to the Himalayas. By growing to such a height and exploding it can disperse its seeds maybe 3-5 m from the original plant, which can cast into the river and carried on by the flow. Destroying riparian stands of Himalayan balsam can open up the habitat for more aggressive invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed and aid in seed dispersal by dropped seeds sticking to shoes. The seeds are highly viable and germinate early in the growing season. It has an explosive seed capsule, which scatters seeds over a distance of up to 7m. We recommend that the plants, which are shallow-rooted, should be pulled out and disposed of by composting carefully, or by burning if seeds are present. The pulling technique must be undertaken so that whole plant is uprooted and normally best done if pulled from low down the plant - If snapping occurs at a node the pulling must be completed to include the roots. If the Himalayan Balsam is near a water-course the use of chemical control may be impossible. [19], Some research also suggests that I. glandulifera may exhibit allelopathy, which means that it excretes toxins that negatively affect neighboring plants, thus increasing its competitive advantage. [16], In the UK, the plant was first introduced in 1839, at the same time as giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed. woodlands where its spread is aided by prolific seed production coupled with a highly effective dispersal mechanism. The aggressive seed dispersal, coupled with high nectar production which attracts pollinators, often allows the Himalayan Balsam to outcompete native plants. The seeds of Himalayan balsam persist in the soil for 18 to 24 months; however, seed persistence of up to 36 months has been reported. Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam); flowers and seed pods. The flowers have a hooded shape and look similar to a policeman’s helmet. Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) seed dispersal. The common names policeman's helmet, bobby tops, copper tops, and gnome's hatstand all originate from the flowers being decidedly hat-shaped. It is fast-growing and spreads quickly, invading wet habitat at the expense of other, native flowers. Though not commonly available for sale, people who are unaware of its destructive potential contribute to its spread by collecting and spreading seed. Flowers: Himalayan balsam’s pink flowers are a key ID feature in the late growing season. Its aggressive seed dispersal, coupled with high nectar production which attracts pollinators, often allow it to outcompete native plants. The green seed pods, seeds, young leaves and shoots are all edible. Telephone: 250-305-1003 or 1-888-933-3722 It grows rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes. [17] However, a study by Hejda & Pyšek (2006) concluded that, in some circumstances, such efforts may cause more harm than good. Manual – As Himalayan balsam is a shallow rooted plant it can be easily uprooted by hand. If all goes well, the project will have it financing its own eradication. [7] Presently it can be found almost everywhere across the continent. The Bionic Control of Invasive Weeds project, in Wiesbaden, Germany, is trying to establish a self-sufficient means of conserving their local biodiversity by developing several food products made from the Himalayan balsam flowers. The flowers are followed by seed pods, two to three cm long, which contain up to 16 seeds in each pod. Source(s): https://shrink.im/a0uCt. [8][9][10], In North America it has been found in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. E-mail: info@bcinvasives.ca 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. Plants have a poor root structure so it is relatively easy to remove. Additionally, after dying back in the fall, bare riverbanks are exposed, increasing erosion during higher winter flows. In August 2014, CABI released a rust fungus in Berkshire, Cornwall and Middlesex in the United Kingdom as part of field trials into the biological control of Himalayan balsam. 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. Indian balsam needs dealing with before it sets seed. [13], Himalayan balsam is sometimes cultivated for its flowers. The flowers are pink, with a hooded shape, 3 to 4 cm (​1.mw-parser-output .sr-only{border:0;clip:rect(0,0,0,0);height:1px;margin:-1px;overflow:hidden;padding:0;position:absolute;width:1px;white-space:nowrap} 1⁄4 to ​1 1⁄2 in) tall and 2 cm (​3⁄4 in) broad; the flower shape has been compared to a policeman's helmet. Himalayan balsam is reported to have been first introduced into the British Isles in 1839 (Beerling & Perrins, 1993) as an ornamental species due to its showy flowers and novel explosive seed dispersal mechanism. Seeds: Himalayan balsam seed capsules will hold up to 16 seeds. The plant can spread rapidly along riverbanks as seeds are carried downstream where … Balsam Plant. [2] Via human introduction it is now present across much of the Northern Hemisphere and is considered an invasive species in many areas. Before, around 1978, I don’t remember these Balsam plants growing, but soon after, they had spread, using the numerous streams which fed the upper River Irwell. However, it does have some redeeming features and whilst I can understand the reasons for it being much despised I feel somebody has to speak up in support of this controversial but defenceless and, even though invidious of me to say it, invaluable plant! Himalayan balsam is easily identifiable with its whorled leaves (usually in threes). Peas are another example of a plant bursting open to disperse its seeds. Himalayan balsam is an invasive species and was introduced in the mid-19th century as a garden ornamental. Himalayan (Indian) Balsam spreading their seeds. Himalayan balsam and kiss-me-on-the-mountain arise from the plant originating in the Himalayan mountains. Himalayan balsam is an annual plant, reproducing by small spherical seeds, 2-4mm in diameter. Uprooting or cutting the plants is an effective means of control. 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. Dispersal and Spread: Seeds can be flung up to 7m away from the parent plant with the slightest disturbance. As a youngster, I would often grow these seeds. If control is undertaken early enough to prevent flowering (and if this is achieved before seed has set) then eradication is possible in two or three years. It is vehemently hated by some and actively persecuted by others. Riparian habitat is suboptimal for I. glandulifera, and spring or autumn flooding destroys seeds and plants. The flowers can be turned into a jam or parfait. We send "General interest" updates monthly and all other updates from time to time. insects) at the expense of indigenous species. It grows in dense stands and can be up to 2m tall. Himalayan balsam also promotes river bank erosion due to the plant dying back over winter, leaving the bank unprotected from flooding. Leaves are stalked, oblong to egg-shaped and have a serrated edge. Fruit/Seed Description Dispersal Method: The fruit of the Balsam Fir are upright, cylindrical cones. It is a beautiful plant, I shan’t deny that, but it's non-native and - as is a common story - has found its niche in a new world and, without any means of natural control, it has begun a rampage. Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glanulifera) is an attractive looking flower, with a stout, hollow stem, trumpet shaped pink/white flowers and elliptical shaped green leaves. Best Regards. [23], Himalayan balsam at Bank Hall, Bretherton, Lancashire, England, "Policeman's helmet" redirects here. Himalayan balsam can attain a height of 2.5 metres and when it invades the riverbank it forms monocultures shadowing out native plants and restricting access to the river. After flowering between June and October, the plant forms seed pods 2 to 3 cm (​3⁄4 to ​1 1⁄4 in) long and 8 mm broad (​1⁄4 in), which explode when disturbed,[4] scattering the seeds up to 7 metres (23 feet). showering the ground with seeds, like the Himalayan Balsam seed. 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