Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

Fact Sheet

ALERT SPP This Plant is on high alert.


Latin Name: Impatiens glandulifera

Origin:  Asia

Physical Description: Annual succulent herb. The roots are red-pink and shallow, extending 10 – 15 centimetres into the soil. Stems are purple-tinged, erect, branched, smooth and hairless and can extend up to 2m tall. The leaves are dark green, opposite to whorled, elliptical to egg shaped, up to 15cm long and the margins are closely saw-toothed. Flowers are pink to fuschia (rarely white) and usually spotted inside. They are found on the leaf axils and are borne on long stalks.

Habitat: Prefers moist to mesic soils and can be found along streambanks, meadows, and roadsides and in waste places.

Impacts:  Outcompetes native vegetation, decreasing plant diversity. They can also result in increased erosion and sedimentation, particularly along stream banks.

Reproduction:  Primarily by seed.  Each plant can produce up to 2,500 seeds. The seeds are housed in capsules that explode when ripe. Seeds can be ejected up to 7m from the parent plant. Seeds are buoyant and can travel up to 10km in water without loosing any viability. Plants can produce adventitious roots from lower nodes of the stem, especially when the plants are blown over or growing on a slope.

Management Options

Mechanical: Digging or pulling plants prior to flowering is effective and easy as the roots are shallow. Cutting may be used to remove the top of the plant to prevent fruit formation however is recommended for plants growing in sensitive or inaccessible areas.  Mowing or brush cutting prior to flowering can be effective and may be best suited for large, non-riparian sites.

 Chemical: Recommended for large infestation where mechanical control isn’t feasible. Several herbicides with the following active ingredients can control Himalayan balsam: 2, 4-D, glyphosate and triclopyr. For available products, contact your local agri-supply store. Prior to any herbicide application, read and follow the label instructions

Biological: Not Available

Additional Resources:

Best Management Practices for Himalayan Balsam in the Metro Vancouver Region


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