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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

10 August, 2010

Indian Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)

Indian Balsam is a plant introduced from the Himalayas into water gardens and has escaped in to the outside world. It is now widespread on river banks around the county especially the Stour and the Frome.

Sadly this is another unwelcome arrival from over sees and another case of us paying for the Victorian habit of collecting 'nice things' from the colonies and bringing them home. This plant is something of a pest as it is free growing, spreading rapidly and becoming dominant at the expense of other natural species.

It is not even very good for insects or as a food for any other living thing so it is a flower we could well do without but impossible to eradicate. We put more effort into pulling Ragwort which is far more beneficial, than we do in to controlling this plant.

What the plant does have in its favour is these lovely large pink flowers that give the plant its nick-name, Policeman's Helmet. Ever see a policeman with a pink helmet?