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Himalayan Balsam

Impatiens glandulifera


Native to the western Himalayas and an invasive species in the UK. Was introduced as a garden plant in 1839 but escaped. Very effective at dispersing seeds, pods explode when touched and can also be carried by water - seeds can remain viable for up to 2 years. Can grow up to 3m tall, grows very densely and prevents native plants from growing. Once the plants die in the autumn, they leave the bank bear of vegetation, making it prone to erosion. I found this one by the side of a road, must have been one of the last flowers of the season.


This one was growing by a hedge on a roadside in damp, shaded soil.


Apparently I was meant to pull this out when I see it (advice from the Environment Agency), but I didn't know it was an invasive species. It's now quite widespread throughout the UK.

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Daniel Rowson
Daniel Rowson 11 years ago

Hi Laura. It's nice to see the variety of plants we have locally (even if they are invasive - atleast we can track where they've spread!). You should join the Plants of Britain mission: - Happy spotting!

KarenL 11 years ago

Laura, your spotting is featured in the Project Noah blog today.

LucBertrand 12 years ago

So it must have been difficult to climb the Himalayan mountains ! :O hihihi No joke , this photo is very beautiful Lauramaria :)

Wild Things
Wild Things 12 years ago

Yes, you are right, we have fields and fields of them here at the valley of flowers: my spotting from the valley. There had been many botanists from the UK during 1796-1939, here to collect data on the flowers, maybe one of them introduced it there thinking about the beauty of the valley? He/she might have never guessed that it would become a pain one day. Sorry to hear about this plant being a pest there. Not heard of it as a pest here.

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 12 years ago


LauraMaria 12 years ago

Satyen, that's very interesting! I just had a search for Valley of Flowers, and found a picture of a field full of this flower! Unfortunately over here it seems to be a pest, which is a shame because it is rather pretty

Wild Things
Wild Things 12 years ago

Very common at the valley of flowers.

LauraMaria 12 years ago

Updated the spotting with correct info now :) Thanks to everyone who helped out in IDing

LauraMaria 12 years ago

Thank you so much tcbdiamond, I found it! Dan was right, it is an Impatiens, it's Himalayan balsam and is indeed an invasive species. Apparently I was supposed to have pulled it out if I saw it!

tcbdiamond 12 years ago

If it is what I think - and I can't remember the name; they are classed as an invader to the UK. from Asia but becoming more prevalent in Europe as climate appears to be warming. If you look on the UK environment agency website it'll tell you. It's apparently becoming a nuisance as it is overtaking local species habitats - but it's beautiful.

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 12 years ago

It looks like Impatiens to me.

Spotted by

South Lakeland, England, United Kingdom

Spotted on Oct 14, 2011
Submitted on Oct 16, 2011

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