There are 4-16 seeds per pod and each plant can produce 800 seeds. Flowers: Himalayan balsam’s pink flowers are a key ID feature in the late growing season. It grows in dense stands and can be up to 2m tall. The genus Impatiens means impatient in the sense of hasty, referring to the explosive mechanism by which ripe seeds are hurled from the plant, to enlarge the colony or be carried away by water to fresh ground. This plant is a “touch-me-not” plant, which means that when its seed capsules mature and dry, they explode when touched. If you liked this story, like & follow us on Facebook for more. I first came across the reference in Sir George Watt’s six volume ‘A Dictionary of Economic Products of India’ 1889-1896. This plant is the least harmful of our three main invasive species. Native to the western Himalayas, it was introduced to Kew Gardens in the early 1800s. It is fast-growing and spreads quickly, invading wet habitat at the expense of other, native flowers. Native to the western Himalayas, it was introduced to Kew Gardens in the early 1800s. Seeds are set from August to October. Impact Native Habitats: Himalayan Balsam can rapidly out-compete native plants due to its ability to rapidly reproduce and grow in dense stands. * Note that stems not uprooted can re-grow from nodes and still produce flowers and seeds. Exploded Himalayan balsam seed pod. The flavorful greens are cooked into curries and other dishes and are an excellent source of calcium and vitamins A and C. Here in Essex England it is very dry, so each year they get fewer until they disappear altogether, but I just collect a few seeds when in a wetter area & start again. Himalayan B alsam’s ability to spread seed widely enabling colonisation of vast sections of riverbanks and wet habitats creates detrimental affects on the riparian and aquatic environment: Large dense populations reduce available light and space on the riverbank outcompeting native plant species. You will also note the plant’s visible seed pods which explode when touched. Himalayan Balsam - Impatiens glandulifera Edible plant with caution - novice Other common names: Indian Balsam, Nuns, Jumping Jacks, Bobby Tops, Copper Tops, Gnome’s Hatstand, Jewelweed, Ornamental Jewelweed, Policeman’s Helmet, Kiss-me-on-the-Mountain Scientific name meaning: Impatiens originates from Latin and means "impatient". The entire seed population germinates synchronously in spring to form a dense stand. The green seed pods, seeds, young leaves and shoots are all edible and are traditionally used in curries in its native Himalayan region. Himalayan balsam and kiss-me-on-the-mountain arise from the plant originating in the Himalayan mountains. Simply touching them with your finger, dangling the plant stem or even walking past them can cause the pods to pop, launching the seeds meters away in every direction. Eddie Hoare. Interestingly, the plant’s Latin name, Impatiens glandulifera, speaks of its impatience to spread far and wide, using a fascinating evolutionary mechanism. It’s important to time your Himalayan balsam control so you don’t inadvertently spread more seeds. Datum : 27. It is pollinated by bumble-bees. The stems are green in the autumn and turn red towards the end of the year. The species name glandulifera comes from the Latin words glándula meaning 'small gland', and ferre meaning 'to bear', referring to the plant's glands. And once growing, Himalayan balsam can proliferate at a fearsome rate. I was told they called them Imperial Busy Lizzies & I was asked to water them regularly. These flowers are followed by seedpods that will open and ‘explode’ when ripe and scatters the seeds up to 7 metres (23 feet) in all directions. It produces seedpods from July with ripe seeds being distributed from then until October, when the plant dies having produced up to 800 seeds. 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