Watch Your Fingers

Indian Balsam
Indian Balsam

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is nothing we like better here, than having a good moan about something. Preferably about a problem or issue that there is no reasonable solution to, this gives us a completely free reign. Well, as you can guess from the picture, we’re going to whinge about Indian Balsam. Well, no that’s not true, we’re going to whinge about people who whinge about Indian Balsam.

Let me ask all you environmental addicts out there something. We know for instance that squirrels bite the ends off acorns before they bury them. This stops the acorn from germinating. Good for squirrels – bad for oak trees. Squirrels are just parasites. They do nothing for the tree that provides them with food and shelter. The Jay also collects and ¬†buries acorns, but the Jay buries them undamaged. Any acorns that the Jay doesn’t need are left in the ground to germinate and sprout into new trees. So, the question is, of the Squirrel and the Jay, which is the most environmentally friendly?

Let’s use a bit of vision here. If nature invented a creature (as in – us) that took advantage of almost every plant and animal on the planet, could it not be that the appreciation of the beauty of her works as well as their utility, was built in to us specifically so that we would collect and spread those denizens of her kingdom who were rooted to the spot?

We invited Indian Balsam to come in – and now suddenly we can’t wait to get rid of him. It’s no wonder the guy in the picture looks ready to bite your hand off, is it?

2 thoughts on “Watch Your Fingers

  1. it is a shame (same as himylayan balsam) – the bees love it so much they don’t pollinate anything else. Thus lallows the invasive species to run rampant. Apparently up stream of Durham a river bank collapsed due to the fact this beautiful plant had starved the bankside of our natural river bank plants, leaving the soil very poor condition, it is a beauty and beast. Those victorian trophy hunters have ever increased our knowledge of the world and by the same token have ruined or country side.


  2. Hi Ange – You’ve hit on my hobby-horse I’m afraid.

    So a couple of points.
    Most plants do their best to poison the ground around them to keep competitors away. It’s normal, not unique to Indian Balsam. It’s a life and death struggle out there.

    The Himalayan or Indian Balsam doesn’t especially like river banks – but our rivers are so full of nutrients (fertiliser washed off the fields) that it grows best there – if we cleaned up the rivers it would go and grow somewhere else.

    It’s easy to blame the Victorians or the Romans – but we are still doing the same thing right now – think of all those pet shops selling ‘exotic’ pets, new varieties of plants brought in from America every season and then planted in Kenya for the cut flower trade in Europe etc.,.

    But there is if you like, a moral issue. Nature is life. The point of nature is to generate life. We are probably the biggest beneficiaries of the life that nature creates. It isn’t wrong of us to propagate nature in any way that occurs to us, any more than it is wrong of us to benefit from the massive inefficiency that is natures way of doing things.

    So if Impatiens glandulifera (or any other plant) is in your way – pull it out.
    If you want to restore the landscape, to lock it in some imaginary state and stop nature from changing things around. You’re wasting your time and effort.

    Plants are plants – it doesn’t matter how they came to be here. Our job is to survive, same as all the other of natures creations, if we don’t allow nature to create as rampantly as she wants, then we may never have something we need to survive.

    Unless we find that something is definitely detrimental to our survival – it is in our best interests to leave it alone.

    Competing with ‘native’ plants is part of the solution not part of the problem.

    Sorry – but I do get a bit irritated with this ‘native’ plant rubbish, as if plants care about lines on a map. So, I’m going to get a cold flannel and go and lie down in a darkened room now.

    PS Then I might come over to your blog ( and cause trouble over there too.
    PPS Or even


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