Himalayan balsam reaches well over head height and is classed as a major weed problem, especially on riverbanks and waste land. It spreads rapidly, outcompetes native plants, erodes floodbanks and causes blockages.
It was first introduced to the United Kingdom in 1839 and is seen spring to autumn; treated in early summer.
The ‘Policeman’s Helmet’ – a nickname given to the plant – is a big issue for the Environment Agency, no where more so than at Horringford near Arreton.
Although large quantities of the weed has been removed, there is still more work needed to rid the area of the nuisance.