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It typically grows to 1 to 2 m high, with a soft green or red-tinged stem, and lanceolate leaves 5 to 23 cm long. The crushed foliage has a strong musty smell. Below the leaf stems the plant has glands that produce a sticky, sweet-smelling, and edible nectar. The flowers are pink, with a hooded shape, 3 to 4 cm tall and 2 cm broad; the flower shape has been compared to a policeman's helmet.
Along a river path.
Introduced to the UK in 1839, Himalayan balsam is now a naturalised plant, found especially on riverbanks and in waste places where it has become a problem weed. Himalayan balsam tolerates low light levels and also shades out other vegetation, so gradually impoverishing habitats by killing off other plants.
Spotted on Jul 14, 2021
Submitted on Apr 4, 2022