Despite its soothing name, this densely growing pink and red-stemmed weed stifles any native grasses and plants in its path.
Its seed pods explode open when ripe and can shoot seeds up to seven metres away – with each plant able to produce around 800 seeds, it’s no wonder this plant dominates certain areas.
It doesn’t need much light itself and will grow in a wide range of habitats. However, this weed tends to shade out other plants and when it dies back in autumn its destructive legacy lives on; as it leaves waterway banks vulnerable to erosion.
It is actually quite easy to control, using a method called balsam bashing. This basically means pulling the shallow rooted plant up before it flowers in June. This can eradicate the plant from an area within a few years.
However, the plant is so widely spread it is a daunting task in many locations. It can also easily spread from adjacent land and down waterways through its prolific seed production.
Last date edited: 15 March 2018