Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

This week Tilhill Forestry will be sharing their Toolbox Talks on Invasive Species for Invasive Species Week including the Do’s and Dont’s when dealing with them.

The tallest annual plant now growing in the British Isles, Himalayan Balsam was introduced to the UK 150 years ago as an ornamental plant but quickly spread into the wild.

It thrives because each plant produces more than 500 seeds before it dies inthe Autumn. When the seed pods are ripe, the slightest touch causes them to burst open catapulting and dispersing the seeds up to 7m away. Seeds can remain viable for 2 years.

They are often found growing along rivers, disused railway lines or in similar linear corridors.



• Avoid environmental harm: As one of the most invasive species in the British Isles, Himalayan Balsam dominates habitats, grows densely and shades out native plants. Biodiversity is affected as the consequent loss in plant diversity leads to a
reduction in the population of insects and birds.

• It is a criminal offence to encourage or cause the growth of Himalayan
Balsam: This can include moving soils that contain seeds of the plant. 

DO ✅
Stop work in the immediate area and contact your manager for instruction  if you think you have identified Himalayan Balsam on your site.

Disturb the seedpods.
Move soil that may contain seeds or other plant material without specific instructions.

Download the full Himalayan Balsam Toolbox Talk