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Dandelion, chickweed, groundweed and stinging nettle - they are all familiar weeds to most gardeners. Himalayan balsam, also known as Indian balsam, is best known to those gardeners who have already smelled it as an intruder in their own garden.

Balsam tends to crowd out other plants due to its rapid spread

A harmless appearance

Outwardly, the Himalayan Balsam appears completely harmless. It grows up to 2 m high in optimal locations. Its long stems, which branch out profusely at the end, have a reddish tinge. Their leaves attached to them are green and jagged at the edge.

From July to October, delicate pink flowers reminiscent of orchids appear. They are the most characteristic features of this plant. The throat flowers, which grow in clusters, have a sweet smell and attract insects. But the harmless appearance of balsam is deceptive…

Inside a merciless neophyte

If you get too close to the balsam when its capsule fruits are ripe, you have to reckon with nasty projectiles. The capsules explode when touched and shoot out their seeds. It doesn't hurt physically, but for many nature lovers and gardeners it does in the soul.

The reason: This balsam mercilessly crowds out native plants. It spreads rapidly, stealing the sun from other plants and becoming dominant. In many places it becomes a veritable plague and is found in large numbers, especially on the riparian zones.

A single plant produces up to 2,000 seeds per year! This is enormous when you consider that these seeds remain viable and germinate without any problems for many years. They are spread up to 7 m when ejected from the capsules. If there is a body of water in the immediate vicinity, they are carried on…

Get rid of this weed

You can fight impatiens in the following ways:

  • remove all sprouts
  • remove larger plants including the roots
  • destroy the plants before flowering
  • Avoid self-sowing in any case
  • Do not throw waste in the compost (the seeds survive there)
  • never fertilize or water


This weed is poisonous and edible at the same time. You can eat its seeds and flowers. You should refrain from eating its raw leaves and stems.

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