Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

11-05-11 : Hogsmill Balsam bash

Himalayan Balsam was our target when we met on the Hogsmill for an afternoon of Balsam bashing.....

Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is a non-native species that is adept at spreading itself quickly and effectively along our riverside habitats. It blocks out light to our native riparian flora, suppressing diversity, and in the winter completely dies back, leaving our riverbanks bare and unprotected.

Some people argue that a little Balsam is ok to have on your riverbank - after all, our bees certainly like its nectar. However, the general consensus is that Himalayan Balsam does more harm than good, so we are trying to reduce the hold that it has at our Middle Mill campus.

Its spreads by seed - its 'exploding' seed pods can fling seeds a surprisingly long distance, so uprooting the Balsam before it sets seed is the only way to reduce its population.

We ended up filling over 10 bags full of Himalayan Balsam, which have gone to our composter at Kingston Hill!

Biodiversity spot of the day goes to Chris who snapped this amazing Damselfly... can anyone identify it?

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