Size: Can reach up to 2.5m tall
Native to: The Himalayas
Introduced to the UK: In 1839, first recorded in the wild in 1855.
When To See
Spring to autumn, best removed in early summer.
Mostly found on river banks or in damp woodland or other damp habitats. It out-competes native species. Die back of extensive stands can leave banks bare and exposed to erosion, and the same stands in summer can impede flow during high rainfall and increase the chance of flooding.
How To Identify
Tall growing, it produces clusters of pink-purple (occasionally white) helmet-shaped flowers, followed by seed pods that open explosively when ripe and can disperse seeds up to 7 metres away. Flowers are trumpet shaped and up to 4cm long. Leaves have finely serrated edges and a slender elliptical shape. Stems are greenish early in the year to reddish later in the year, and are hollow and fleshy to the touch. Short roots make it easy to remove by hand.
How It’s Treated
Short root structures allow it to be easily pulled out of the ground, where it can then be piled and left to rot down. If only a few are pulled, they can be hung from a tree branch and allowed to die off.
A large stand on the banks of the Almond
One of our team members pulling Himalayan Balsam on the Almond
Even large plants with wide root systems are still quite easy to pull by hand
Been kicking about near your local river or burn and come across one of these species? Not sure? Share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we enjoy chatting about invasive species with you.