Archived Letter – 1483

Dear Editor,

Humans started the problem, so we have to solve it. The problem is disguised in beauty, but do not be fooled by this, because the Himalayan Balsams’ (H.B.) beauty is the problem. People put it in their gardens and the bees prefer it over native plants like the Jewelweed. By reading this you should have enough information to be part of the solution.
Our class at Elora P.S. has been fighting the invasion of H.B. over the last five years on our property beside the creek. This invasive species has given us a battle and we are slowly winning by yanking them out by the roots. Over the years there have been many garbage bags filled up by the H.B. (It is important to put them in the garbage and not a compost because they are annuals).
This is all great, but we are noticing the plant all around Centre Wellington (Bissell Park, South River Road, etc.), so we need your help in taking them out. You can recognize them by their long purplish stem (1-3m tall), and their colourful pink/whitish orchid looking flowers. Their stems are hollow and their branches have seed pods (do not touch!) that contain up to 800 seeds. Not only is this plant pretty, it is also clever. Their seed pods when touched can launch the seeds up to 5 meters.
We are hoping that if enough people can identify and understand the damage that is caused by the Himalayan Balsam we will be able to remove it from our environment. We want our habitats to be filled with all the variety of our native plants, not just one beauty. Don’t be fooled!


The H.B. Hunters of Elora P.S.

John Scott