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  • Introduced from India as an ornamental

  • Grows 1 to 3 meters in height


Himalyan balsam
(Impatiens glandulifera)

Quick Identification

  • Oblong, red-purple veined, serrated leaves

  • Hollow, red stems

  • Hooded purple to pink flowers

Displaces native species along waterways leading to increased erosion and loss of biodiversity.  Forms dense stands and diverts pollinators from native species.  Damages riparian and wetland habitat across North America.

Can be easily pulled or dug out.  They can also be mown or cut below the lowest node to discourage regeneration.  Treatment should take place before seeds are visible as disturbing or moving the plant may further disperse seeds.

The five petalled flowers are pink to purple in colour and an irregular hooded shape.  They bloom from June through to late fall.

Leaves & Stems
Leaves are 5 to 23 cm long, oblong, and serrated.  Veins in the leaves as well as the stems are green to purple tinged.  Glands just below leaf stems contain a sweet nectar.  Stems are 1 to 3 m tall, branching, and  hollow.

Preferred Habitat
Grows in disturbed riparian and wetland habitats with rich soil.


Fibrous, shallow root system.

Reproduction & Dispersal
Reproduces by seed but can regrow from stalks if not cut low enough to the ground.  Seed pods explode when dry, launching seeds up to 10 m away from the plant.  Seeds are spread by wind, water, animals, and human activity.

Seed capsules hold up to 16 seeds which are blue-grey in colour. Each plant can produce up to 800 seeds.  A 'touch-me-not' plant, seed pods burst when touched, launching seeds away from the plant.

Interesting Facts
Is also known as policeman's helmet for its hooded flowers.

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