Common name: Himalayan Balsam
Scientific name: Impatiens glandulifera
This large, incredibly tasty, extremely invasive plant is in fact one of the most invasive plants we have in the UK. Now on Defras hit list. It is native to the Himalayas where it has traditionally been used as food.
This plant can be found across much of the northern hemisphere because of human introduction, its amazing explosive seed despersal and rapid growth.
It spreads with ease, usually along river banks and waterways.As well as the seeds ability to lay dormant in the soil for up to five years, reach distances of up to five meters, they also float making it easy for the plant to establish itself in new areas where they smother out most of our native plants that just can’t compete.
It was introduced to the UK in 1839 by Victorian gardeners, cultivated as a green house annule but didn’t take long for it to escape. Every part of the plant is edible the seeds, leaves, stems and flowers, it can be eaten raw or cooked.
If walking along the river where this plant is present, from mid August to the end of September you will hear the seed pods popping. After confidently identifying this plant why not have a nibble on the tasty nutty tasting seeds.