The Company You Keep
You shouldn’t really be looking at this picture, so try to just glance at it out of the corner of your eye. I’m very much afraid that it has been known to keep very bad company and you wouldn’t want to be tarred with the same brush now, would you? It hasn’t happened just once or twice either, this unfortunate alliance has been going on for quite a few years. This chap, Himalayan Balsam, Impatiens glandulifera, was deliberately introduced in the UK in around 1839. He came over on the same boat, as Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed. He was recommended to gardeners for his Herculean proportions and his splendid invasiveness. Well, they were absolutely right about the invasiveness. He’s everywhere – across Europe, America and Australia.
Where it grows along streams and rivers, apparently it is best not to try to pull it up, you just tend to make things worse. It’s better to concentrate on improving the quality of the water and it will go away on its own. It really doesn’t like riverbanks that much and it is only there for the free lunch. Remove the excess nutrients from the water and it will wander off. The other thing about it is, although it may out-compete the occasional local plant, it does provide shelter for various local fauna that wouldn’t be there otherwise, so it isn’t all bad.
It really does seem to be trying its best to integrate.