Double edged beauty
This plant, native to the Himalayan region of Asia, was introduced to Canada in the early 1900s as an ornamental plant. It is known by several names: Impatiens of the Himalayas, Himalayan Balsam or Giant Balsam. It produces large flowers of bright pink. The plant can reach from one to two meters in height.
It is an annual plant that grows near water ways, wetlands, along ditches and roads. Although it is recognized for its ornamental qualities, this plant is an aggressive competitor. It quickly dominates native species and contributes to the decline of local biodiversity. Its pod like fruit explodes to the touch, scattering its seeds several meters around.
It should not be confused with indigenous species of impatiens:
- Jewelweed (orange flower)
- Pale Jewelweed (yellow flower)
- This plant has a shallow root system, which makes pulling easy;
- Pulling should be done in the spring or early summer (before it produces seeds);
- To increase competition, on bare soils, plant indigenous species that are an alternative to the Purple Jewelweed, such as Fireweed, the Canada Lily or the Cardinal Flower.
It is important to make sure that you dispose of the Purple Jewelweed in airtight plastic bags and send them to a landfill site and not to composting. Eradication of this plant may take several years, as the seeds can go dormant and germinate when conditions become favorable.
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