Welcome to the Scottish Invasives blog. Invasive non-native species (or INNS) are plants and animals that have been introduced to areas outside their natural range. INNS are currently recognised as one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. The Scottish Invasives blog is intended as an informal forum for those interested in invasive species control. If you wish to contribute, please get in contact. You can click on any of the images to see them at higher resolution.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam Impatiens glandulifera was introduced to Britain's gardens in the early 19th century. This pretty invader is now a widespread problem throughout Scotland. A native to the West and Central Himalayas it has escaped its natural predators and thrives largely unharmed in Scotland. After flowering the ripe seed pods explode, scattering seed up to 5 metres from the parent plant. The seeds are also easily transported along watercourses.


  1. The bees are loving this plant right now, its right to remove it but what will be our impact on the local bee population? Should we scatter wildflower seeds at areas we have de-balsamed? Any thoughts?

  2. There are lots of native plants in the countryside for bees to nectar at and other plants in gardens. The Himalayan balsam is distracting bees from pollinating those,there is no need to worry about the impact on bees, they will find plenty to feed on.

  3. Well, we have had the first ripe seeds on plants on Friday - safely pulled I am glad to report. We have been working "at the Impats" as we say here for the past several weeks, cutting gorse and grass, cutting back banks of Spiraea and brambles just to allow access to pull plants. The first control visits have been finished on a complicated and difficult site with only one "popper" so far. There will be control visits at 2/3 weekly intervals from now until late Oct/first frosts. The only way to wipe out areas of the plant. A similar regime last year resulted in about 98% control with less than 10 plants spreading seeds all season. Vigilance is still required though...