It’s time to bash some Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

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Residents and community groups have undertaken a campaign in order to protect the wildlife in Calderdale. Spreading rapidly through the district, the Himalayan Balsam - an invasive weed from Asia - is a serious threat to our natural environment, and is circulating many aspects of nature from woodlands to riverbanks.

The now naturalised plant was introduced to the UK in 1839, becoming a problem weed due to its high toleration of low light levels and thus consequent impoverishing of habitats by killing other plants.

Otherwise known as ‘policeman’s helmet’ due to the production of helmet-shaped flowers, each plant can produce up to 800 seeds; dispersed widely as the ripe seedpods shoot their seeds up to 7m (22 ft) away.


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