Himalayan Balsam – Impatiens glandulifera

Also called ‘Indian Balsam’, ‘Ornamental Jewelweed’, or ‘Policeman’s Helmet’, this tall red-stemmed annual has pink or white hooded flowers. It can grow up to a height of 2.5m.

It flowers July to October, and grows along ditches, river banks, streams, and in damp woodland or on wasteland in sheltered sites. A widely naturalised species.

The Himalayan Balsam was introduced to Europe in the 19th century from the Himalayas, and it grows and spreads so quickly along river banks and other damp areas that it has become an invasive pest in many places. The fruit capsules explode and shoot the seeds further from the parent plant.