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Himalayan Balsam - Invasive Weed Information

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What is Himalayan Balsam - (Impatiens glandulifera)?

Habitat: Terrestrial. Prefers wet & damp areas.
Distribution in Ireland: Abundant across Ireland

Status: Established
Family name: Balsaminaceae

ReproductionEach plant can produce up to 1500 seeds a year and their explosive pods can shoot seeds up to 7m away, which then stick to shoes and car tyres. Bees are also attracted to the flowers and can spread the seeds widely.

Himalayan balsam (also known as Indian balsam) is an alien invasive plant introduced to Ireland in the mid 19th Century mainly by Victorian gardeners.

Himalayan Balsam - Impatiens glandulifera Exploding Seed pod

Himalayan balsam -seed dispersal

Himalayan Balsam - Impatiens glandulifera Flower

Himalayan balsam - Impatiens gladuliera flower

It is the tallest annual plant in the Ireland and can grow to a height of 7m (2m typical).

Every year Himalayan balsam grows exponentially and it’s reached a point where people are starting to notice it everywhere.

Himalayan Balsam is often found in ditches, ponds, canals and riversides for example but it is increasingly being seen on just slightly damp ground, such as road verges and hedgerows with wet or damp soil..

Even mowing verges and roadsides often does not catch all the plants, and they can quickly regain ground of even just a few are allowed to seed.

How To Identify Himalayan Balsam?

Flower: Bright pink flower

Leaf: Slender & Serated

Himalayan Balsam - (Impatiens glandulifera) Seed Pods
Himalayan Balsam - (Impatiens glandulifera) Leaf
Himalayan Balsam - Impatiens glandulifera ID Guide

Himalayan balsam - Impatiens gladuliera ID Guide

Himalayan balsam - seed pods

Himalayan balsam leaf

Why Is Himalayan Balsam A Problem?

Once established Himalayan balsam, which can grow up to

3m in height, outcompetes native species, erodes riverbanks, and clogs up rivers and streams leading to flooding. It is now widespread throughout Ireland.

Himalayan balsam - Impatiens gladuliera Invasion

Himalayan balsam invasive stand

Control is difficult, firstly because it’s very difficult to chop down or pull all plants and secondly the seeds often keep arriving from neighbouring areas (such as upriver or from neighbouring land you don’t own).


On roadsides, people should inform local authorities.

European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 non-native invasive plant species A-Z (Updated 2017)

There are currently 35 invasive plant species listed in the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations (annex 2, Part 1)...


Click on a species from the following list to find out more regarding non-native species subject to restrictions under Regulations 49 and 50.

  1. American Skunk-CabbageLysichiton americanus

  2. Brazilian Giant-RhubarbGunnera manicata

  3. Broad-Leaved RushJuncus planifolius

  4. Cape PondweedAponogeton distachyos

  5. Cord-GrassesSpartina (all species and hybrids)

  6. Curly Waterweed - Lagarosiphon major

  7. Dwarf Eel-GrassZostera japonica

  8. FanwortCabomba caroliniana

  9. Floating PennywortHydrocotyle ranunculoides

  10. Fringed Water-LilyNymphoides peltata

  11. Giant HogweedHeracleum mantegazzianum

  12. Giant KnotweedFallopia sachalinensis

  13. Giant-RhubarbGunnera tinctoria

  14. Giant SalviniaSalvinia molesta

  15. Himalayan BalsamImpatiens glandulifera

  16. Himalayan KnotweedPersicaria wallichii

  17. Hottentot-FigCarpobrotus edulis

  18. Japanese KnotweedFallopia japonica

  19. Large-Flowered WaterweedEgeria densa

  20. Mile-a-Minute WeedPersicaria perfoliata

  21. New Zealand PigmyweedCrassula helmsii

  22. Parrots FeatherMyriophyllum aquaticum

  23. Red AlgaGrateloupia doryphora

  24. RhododendronRhododendron ponticum

  25. SalmonberryRubus spectabilis

  26. Sea-Buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides

  27. Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica

  28. Three-Cornered LeekAllium triquetrum

  29. WakameUndaria pinnatifida

  30. Water ChestnutTrapa natans

  31. Water FernAzolla filiculoides

  32. Water LettucePistia stratiotes

  33. Water-PrimroseLudwigia (all species)

  34. WaterweedsElodea (all species)

  35. WireweedSargassum muticum

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