Many of our riverbanks on Dartmoor are lined with a pink flowering plant – the Himalyan balsam. The flowers give off a very strong scent and are very attractive to bees. There are however some problems …… Himalayan balsam was introduced in 1839 to the UK and it has subsequently escaped from formal gardens into the countryside.
It often forms dense stands along rivers and in wet meadows and does a pretty good job at smothering out the native plants beneath. Just take a walk at Parke along the River Bovey and you will see how much Himalayan balsam there is. It is one of our jobs over the coming years to reduce the amount of balsam in the wet meadows.
The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have produced a fact sheet on the species and a list of ways you can go about getting rid of it – see here.