Archived Letter – 1105

The Himalayan Balsam is an invasive herb originating from the western Himalayan Mountains in Asia. In the 1800’s the Himalayan Balsam spread to places such as Europe, New Zealand, and North America due to human introduction. Somebody probably brought over the Himalayan Balsam to Wellington County by mistake, and it is spreading like crazy.

Himalayan Balsam has taken over many places in the Wellington area dominating many of the native species. Himalayan Balsam’s can grow 1-3 meters tall and have hollow purplish reddish stalks. The leaves are about 6-15 cm long and widest at the center. They have flowers that are shaped like a tall bowl and have five purple and white petals. It has multiple green seed capsules with up to sixteen seeds inside. Once the seed pods are ready they will pop on impact; if it pops it can launch seeds up to five meters. These plants tend to live near riparian areas especially river edges making the Grand river an ideal target.

At Elora Public School every year we go to our creek were they all grow and we pull them out of the ground and put them into trash bags. Since we have started this they are mostly all gone now but there are still a bit that we need to get rid of.

If you are walking or running and you have your pet on a leash,stay on the trail because if you hit the plant the seeds will pop and then more will start to grow. If you see this plant grab it from the bottom and rip it out of the ground. When you pluck it out don’t dispose it in your compost put it in a garbage bag, then take it directly to the waste facility.

So therefore we need to start pulling and killing this invasive species that spreads very quickly, so please start it’s not that hard.

Tamara,Liam,Christopher,and Wolfe From Elora Public School grade 5,6,7.

Elora public school