Indian balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is a plant introduced from the Himalayas into water gardens and has escaped in to the outside world. It is now widespread on river banks around the county especially the Stour and the Frome. Sadly this is another unwelcome arrival from over seas and another case of us paying for the Victorian habit of collecting 'nice things' from the colonies and bringing them home to adorn our gardens.
This plant is something of a pest as it is free growing, spreading rapidly and becoming dominant at the expense of other natural species. It is not even very good for insects or as a food for any other living thing so it is a flower we could well do without but virtually impossible to eradicate. We put more effort into pulling ragwort which is far more beneficial, than we do in to controlling this plant.
What the plant does have in its favour is these lovely large pink flowers that give the plant its nick-name, policeman's helmet. Ever see a policeman with a pink helmet?Indian Balsam: the policemans helmet