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Himalayan balsam (Impatiens Glandulifera)

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Fisheries Office
Annandale Estates, St Ann's
Tel: 01576 470600

Mobile: 07710331079

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Tel: 01576 470600



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Himalayan balsam spreads through the production of seeds which it catapults up to 7 metres away with its explosive seed pods. The plant material does not re-generate into a new plant.

Pink slipper shaped flowers  (rarely white) on long stalks. Flowers June April

Key ID Features

Impatiens glandulifera

Leaves are spear-shaped with a dark red midrib and grow up to 150mm long

Finely serrated edges

Impatiens glandulifera
Impatiens glandulifera

Often grows in dense stands

Leaves grow in whorls of three.

Can grow up to 3 metres tall

Impatiens glandulifera

Stems are hollow and jointed, sappy and brittle, pinky-red colour.

Impatiens glandulifera

Seed pods are around 2.5cm long. Hanging on red stalks. When ripe they explode when touched

Best Methods of Control

  • Spraying with a commercial glyphosate-based chemical is effective with Himalayan balsam being controlled in 2-3 years. The plant should be sprayed when the leaves are fully out but before flowering. Any re-growth can be sprayed later in the season

  •  Cutting stems or pulling with roots before the plant sets seed is succesful. Grazing is an efficient way of controlling Himalayan balsam

  • Himalayan balsam can be disposed of by leaving the plants out to dry or by burning.

  • Never throw away or fly tip plant material or soil – under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence “to plant or otherwise encourage in the wild” the growth of Himalayan balsam

  • ​Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) must be contacted before using chemicals in or near water.

  • ​Take care not to touch the plant as the seeds pods will explode

  • Be careful not to transport seeds to new sites

  • Removal of plant material off site must be undertaken by a licenced carrier

Do's & Don'ts

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