Himalayan Balsam is a non-native invasive species, and is commonly found along river banks and watercourses. The species is listed in Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, under which it is an offence to plant or otherwise cause to grow the plant in the wild. The species spreads quickly on sites as it out-competes native wildlife and spreads rapidly. The plant spreads using its seed pods, which explode when touched scattering seeds up to 7m away. Seeds are also spread by water and may remain viable within the soil for up to two years (Environment Agency, 2010).
When people think of invasive species they often think of animals. In England grey squirrels are a classic example of this as their presence has led to the widespread decline of the native population of red squirrels. What people may not realise is that this can also happen with plants as well.
The Environment Minister Richard Benyon has confirmed that the following plant species have been banned: