Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Impatiens glandulifera Royle
Preferred Common Name
- Himalayan balsam
Other Scientific Names
- Balsamina glandulifera (Royle) Ser.
- Balsamina macrochila (Lindl.) Ser.
- Balsamina roylei (Walp.) Ser.
- Impatiens glanduligera Lindley
- Impatiens macrochila Lindl.
- Impatiens roylei Walp.
International Common Names
- English: custodian helmet; Indian balsam; ornamental jewelweed; policeman's helmet; purple jewelweed; touch-me-not; Washington orchid
- Spanish: impaciencia
- French: balsamie de l'Himmalaya; balsamine d'Inde; balsamine géante
Local Common Names
- Denmark: kæmpe-balsamin; kjempespringfrø
- Estonia: verev lemmalts
- Finland: jättipalsami
- Germany: Drüsiges Springkraut; Indisches Springkraut
- Iceland: risalísa
- Latvia: puku sprigane
- Lithuania: bitine sprige
- Netherlands: balsemien, reuzen-
- Norway: kæmpe balsamin
- Poland: niecierpek gruczolowaty; niecierpek himalajski
- Sweden: jättebalsamin
- USA: ornamental jewelweed
- IPAGL (Impatiens glandulifera)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
I. glandulifera is a highly invasive annual species which has spread rapidly in many parts of Europe and North America after its introduction as an ornamental. The spread is likely to continue to more northerly or high montane areas as a result of global climatic change. Due to its ability to form dense stands and its conspicuous appearance it has been blamed for negative biodiversity effects. Even though these effects are less severe than often thought, further spread is undesirable and should not be facilitated by further use, in particular in natural areas. Control is advisable in certain situations, e.g. nature reserves and conservation sensitive areas, but eradication from larger parts of its invasive range is not feasible due to the need to control the plant on a catchment scale, which is often impossible due to the sheer scale of occurrence and division of land ownership.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Balsaminales
- Family: Balsaminaceae
- Genus: Impatiens
- Species: Impatiens glandulifera
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Before the recent advances in molecular phylogenetics, Impatiens (Balsaminaceae) was treated as a distinctly separate order, Balsaminales (Dahlgren, 1989), and more traditionally as a member of the order Geraniales under Rosidae (Cronquist, 1988; Thorne, 2000). Anderberg et al. (2002) and Geuten et al. (2004) disputed such classifications which were based mainly on morphological characteristics. As a result of their molecular phylogenetic studies, Balsaminaceae was reclassified as a family in the Ericales (an order of 26 families), sitting as a sister group to all other Ericales in the Balsaminoid Ericales. The Balsaminoid Ericales consist of the families Balsaminaceae, Marcgraviaceae, Pellicieraceae and Tetrameristaceae. Together this group comprises of approximately 1130 species. Three ‘forms’ of the species have been noted, forma albida (Hegi) B. Boivin, forma pallidaflora Weath., and forma glandulifera Vahl (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2008).
Attention should be paid to the taxonomic authority, as the true species is I. glandulifera Royle, whereas I. glandulifera Arn. is a synonym of I. taprobanica Hiern, a native of Sri Lanka (USDA-ARS, 2008).
DescriptionTop of page
I. glandulifera is a tall glabrous annual reaching 50 to 250 cm in height. It is now Europe’s tallest annual species. Its stems can be 0.5 to 5 cm in diameter and are sometimes branched in the upper part. Roots are up to 15 cm deep, the plants often forming numerous adventitious roots from the lower nodes. The leaves are opposite, the upper ones sometimes in whorls of three, up to 25 cm long and 7 cm wide, lanceolate to obovate, petiolate and sharply serrated at the edges. The inflorescences are racemes of 2-14 flowers that are 25-40 mm long. Flowers are strongly zygomorphic, their posterior sepal forming a sac that ends in a straight spur. Their colours vary from white to pink and purple. The capsule is 3-5 cm long and up to 1.5 cm wide. It contains up to 6 (Grime et al., 1988) or 4 to 16 seeds (Beerling and Perrins, 1993), that are 4-7 mm long and 2-4 mm wide with a mean weight of 7.32 mg.
Plant TypeTop of page Annual
DistributionTop of page
I. glandulifera is native to the foothills of the Himalayas from north-west Pakistan to northern India. The native range in the western Himalayas is relatively small compared to its invasive range. According to Beerling and Perrins (1993), I. glandulifera is native from Kashmir to Garhwal between 2000 and 2500 masl, and Polunin and Stainton (1984) report the plant can grow up to 4000 masl in its native range. The plant is also recorded as native in Nepal (USDA-ARS, 2008), and possibly in Bhutan.
I. glandulifera is introduced and invasive in much of Europe, and parts of Canada, the USA and New Zealand.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|India||Restricted distribution||Native||Not invasive||Beerling and Perrins, 1993; USDA-ARS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Himachal Pradesh||Present||Native||Not invasive||Drescher and Prots, 2000; USDA-ARS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Jammu and Kashmir||Present||Native||USDA-ARS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Mizoram||Present||Native||USDA-ARS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Uttar Pradesh||Present||Native||Williamson, 1996; USDA-ARS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|Japan||Restricted distribution||Introduced||EPPO, 2014|
|-Honshu||Present||Introduced||Drescher and Prots, 2000; EPPO, 2014|
|Nepal||Present||Native||USDA-ARS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|Pakistan||Present||Native||Not invasive||Drescher and Prots, 2000; USDA-ARS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|Canada||Restricted distribution||Introduced||EPPO, 2014|
|-British Columbia||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Manitoba||Present||Introduced||Missouri Botanical Garden, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-New Brunswick||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS, 2008|
|-Newfoundland and Labrador||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS, 2008|
|-Nova Scotia||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS, 2008|
|-Ontario||Present||Introduced||Williamson, 1996; EPPO, 2014|
|-Prince Edward Island||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS, 2008|
|-Quebec||Present||Introduced||Missouri Botanical Garden, 2008|
|-Saskatchewan||Present||Introduced||Williamson, 1996; EPPO, 2014|
|USA||Restricted distribution||Introduced||EPPO, 2014|
|-California||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Idaho||Present||Introduced||Toney et al., 1998; USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Maine||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Massachusetts||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Michigan||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Montana||Present||Introduced||Toney et al., 1998; USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-New York||Present||Introduced||Toney et al., 1998; USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Oregon||Present||Introduced||Toney et al., 1998; USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Rhode Island||Present||Introduced||EPPO, 2014|
|-Vermont||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|-Washington||Present||Introduced||Toney et al., 1998; USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|Austria||Widespread||Introduced||1870s||Invasive||Drescher and Prots, 2000; Essl and Rabitsch, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Belgium||Present||Introduced||Weber, 2003; EPPO, 2014|
|Croatia||Present||Introduced||Pandza et al., 2001; EPPO, 2014|
|Czech Republic||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Pysek and Prach, 1994; Pysek and Prach, 1995; EPPO, 2014|
|Denmark||Present||Introduced||EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Finland||Widespread||Introduced||Kurtto, 1996; EPPO, 2014|
|-Corsica||Absent, no pest record||EPPO, 2014|
|Germany||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Sebald et al., 1998; Rothmaler et al., 2002; Kowarik, 2003; EPPO, 2014|
|Hungary||Present||Introduced||Balogh, 2001; EPPO, 2014|
|Ireland||Present||Introduced||Beerling and Perrins, 1993; EPPO, 2014|
|Isle of Man (UK)||Present||Introduced||ISSG, 2017|
|Macedonia||Present||Introduced||EPPO, 2014; Pacanoski and Saliji, 2014|
|Netherlands||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Weeda et al., 1991; EPPO, 2014|
|Norway||Widespread||Introduced||Fremstad and Elven, 1997; EPPO, 2014|
|Poland||Widespread||Introduced||Lhotska and Kopecky, 1966; EPPO, 2014|
|Russian Federation||Restricted distribution||Introduced||EPPO, 2014|
|-Central Russia||Present||Introduced||Czerenov, 1995; EPPO, 2014|
|-Eastern Siberia||Present||Introduced||Czerenov, 1995; EPPO, 2014|
|-Russian Far East||Present||Introduced||Czerenov, 1995; Drescher and Prots, 2000; EPPO, 2014|
|Slovakia||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Eliás, 2001; EPPO, 2014|
|Spain||Present||Introduced||Dana et al., 2001; EPPO, 2014|
|Sweden||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Beerling and Perrins, 1993; Larson and Martinson, 1998; EPPO, 2014|
|Switzerland||Widespread||Introduced||1904||Invasive||Sebald et al., 1998; Weber, 2001; EPPO, 2014|
|UK||Widespread||Introduced||1839||Invasive||Beerling and Perrins, 1993; Prowse, 1998; EPPO, 2014|
|-England and Wales||Present||Introduced||EPPO, 2014|
|-Northern Ireland||Present||Introduced||EPPO, 2014|
|Ukraine||Present||Introduced||Protopopova and Shevera, 1998; Protopopova and Shevera, 1998; EPPO, 2014|
|Yugoslavia (former)||Present||Introduced||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
|New Zealand||Present||Introduced||Webb et al., 1988; EPPO, 2014|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
I. glandulifera was first introduced to the UK in 1839 as a garden ornamental. Since its introduction to the UK the plant has spread at a rate of 645 km2 per year (Perrins et al., 1993 in Weber, 2003). The spread was enhanced by beekeepers and the general public who released the plant into the wild on many occasions (Rotherham, 2000). The occurrence of I. glandulifera was noticed as early as 1855 in the UK, with the plant being recorded as naturalised in the county of Middlesex. The plant is now recorded throughout the UK including offshore islands such as the Isles of Scilly, the Shetland and Orkney islands.
From the UK I. glandulifera was taken to gardens in many European countries where it is still popular. The plants range expansion in mainland Europe began some 50-100 years later than in the UK. In Finland, the plant was recorded as naturalised in 1947 and individual populations were seen to expand during the 1980s (Kurtto, 1996). In the Czech Republic the earliest record of the plant occurring in the wild was in 1896, in Northern Bohemia (Pysek and Prach, 1995). Garden escapees were found in Switzerland in 1904, from where the species migrated along the Rhine to Germany. Although the explosive mechanism disperses seeds from the plant for only up to 7 m, the invasive spread was fast. Seeds can be transported with rivers over large distances and the spread was helped by humans. The spread is likely to continue with global warming to more northerly or high montane areas (Beerling, 1993).
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Further spread of I. glandulifera is likely. As a result of seed transport with flowing water, it will predominantly lead to an increase in abundance within countries or regions. International transport may be motivated by the ongoing use and promotion of the species as a garden plant. Transport of seeds as a contaminant of soil, building material, etc. is possible, but less likely to cause new introductions (Beerling and Perrins, 1993; Hartmann et al., 1995).
I. glandulifera is regarded as an important invader in several European countries and is on the EPPO list of invasive alien plants, “as posing an important threat to plant health, the environment and biodiversity in the EPPO region. It is on the Swiss 'black list' of harmful invasives (Anon., 2002), listed as invasive in Austria (Essl and Rabitsch, 2002), and is among those invasives in Germany against which specific control measures are directed (Kowarik, 2003). I. glandulifera is also a declared noxious weed in the USA, in Connecticut, Oregon and Washington (USAD-ARS, 2008).
HabitatTop of page
In Europe, I. glandulifera is predominantly a weed of riparian systems where it can form dense monocultures along river banks (Pysek, 1995; Kowarik, 2003). I. glandulifera is also found in damp natural woodland, where it can attain is maximum known height (up to 3m), in addition the plant is found in forest plantations, forest clearings, railway embankments, waste ground, urban areas, roadside ditches and wet meadows.
In the native range, I. glandulifera is predominately a plant of high altitudes, moist, fertile valleys where it grows in clusters of 30-60 plants mixed in with surrounding native vegetation (Tanner et al., 2008). This is in stark contrast to the dense monocultures found in the invasive, introduced range.
Habitat ListTop of page
|Disturbed areas||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Productive/non-natural|
|Rail / roadsides||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Urban / peri-urban areas||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Natural forests||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Natural grasslands||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Riverbanks||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Wetlands||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page I. glandulifera is not a weed of agricultural fields. However, native herbaceous plants and tree regeneration can be out-competed by the dense growth of the species (Larson and Martinson, 1998; Maule et al., 2000).
SymptomsTop of page
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The degree of genetic heterogeneity is uncertain, though there is obvious variation in flower colour (Grime et al., 1988). The chromosome number is 2n=18 or 2n=20 (Grime et al., 1988; Beerling and Perrins, 1993).
Physiology and Phenology
Seeds germinate in early spring with a high germination rate of approximately 80% (Sebald et al., 1998). The cotyledon phase lasts until April in the UK when rapid shoot growth begins (Beerling and Perrins, 1993). The root system is augmented by adventitious roots from the lower nodes (Beerling and Perrins, 1993). The time from germination to the onset of flowering is 13 weeks in Germany, with flowering continuing for a further 12 weeks (Sebald et al., 1998). The mortality of seedlings and young plants can be high due to slug predation and physical damage from rainfall and late frosts (Prowse, 1998). Adult plants are killed by the first frost in autumn/winter months.
The self-compatible flowers of I. glandulifera have the highest sugar nectar production per flower than any native European plant species (Chittka and Schürkens, 2001). This enables the plant to attract numerous insect pollinators, especially bees (Apis mellifera), bumble-bees (Bombus spp.) and syrphids. The species is exclusively propagated by seeds. The number of seeds produced is given as 700-800 seeds per plant and 5.7 seeds per pod by Beerling and Perrins (1993), and up to 4000 seeds per plant and 6.4 seeds per pod according to Sebald et al. (1998). A maximum of 32,000 seeds were produced per square metre in a pure stand in Germany (Koenies and Glavac, 1979). Explosive capsules expel seeds from the plant, and dissemination is also aided by flowing water, seeds transported with sediment and the fact that dry seeds are buoyant. In addition, seeds can be spread by human actions, as in the transportation with soil. Seeds require chilling to become viable. Although the species is reported as not having a persistent seed bank (Grime et al., 1988), there are indications that at least some seed can persist for 18 months (Beerling and Perrins, 1993).
I. glandulifera has a preference for high atmospheric humidity. It grows in half-shade but also in full sunlight. In the native range the plant occurs at high altitudes between 1600 and 4300 m, but in Europe it is found at lower elevations. In the UK it has not been found above 210 m and in the eastern Alps in Austria it occurs at up to 1200 m (Drescher and Prots, 2000). In Europe, plants of all ages are frost intolerant with adults killed by the first frost in autumn and seedlings by late frosts in spring (Sebald et al., 1998). The species is also drought-intolerant and quickly wilts, and plants can survive only if the drought period is short (Beerling and Perrins, 1993). As an annual, the species is dependent on open sites for germination each spring; it is consequently favoured by disturbance. It occurs on a wide spectrum of soils from nutrient-poor to nutrient-rich and grows on mineral soils as well as on peat (Kowarik, 2003).
I. glandulifera is found in five main community types, riparian habitats, fens, mesotrophic grasslands, waste ground and woodlands. Within each habitat few associated plant species have been recorded growing within monocultures of the plant. In the UK, the main associated species are similar across the community types, and include Rubus fruticosus, Urtica dioica,Galium aparine, Cirsium arvense, and in wooded habitats the plant grows under a variety of tree species.
In southern Germany, it is most often accompanied by Urtica dioica, Aegopodium podagraria, Lamium maculatum and Galium aparine (Oberdorfer, 1983). Dense riverbank vegetation with I. glandulifera was described as Impatienti-Calystegietum, e.g., along the Odra in Poland (Dajdok et al., 1998).
ClimateTop of page
|C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate||Preferred||Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C|
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Tolerated||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-9||0|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||5||18|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||10||30|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||-5||5|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||1||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||500||2000||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page Summer
Soil TolerancesTop of page
- very acid
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Aphis fabae||Herbivore||not specific||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
|Deilephila elpenor||Herbivore||not specific||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
|Impatientinum balsamines||Herbivore||not specific||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
|Siobla sturmi||Herbivore||Schmitz, 2007|
|Xanthorhoe biriviata||Herbivore||Schmitz, 2007|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
I. glandulifera supports an impoverished diversity of phytophagous insects in the UK, but the extent to which these affect the ecology of the plant is not sufficiently studied (Beerling and Perrins, 1993). In the UK, only 3 arthropod species are known to feed on I. glandulifera, including two aphid species, Aphis fabae and Impatientinum balsamines, and the elephant hawk moth Deilephila elpenor (Beerling and Perrins, 1993).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Seeds are expelled from the plant by explosive dehiscence of the capsule and can lead to dispersal distances of 7 m. Long-distance dispersal of seeds occurs with the aid of flowing water such as along rivers. Fresh seeds are transported with sediment on the beds of rivers, and dry seeds are buoyant and can float over large distances.
Isolated observations of seeds dispersed up to 10 m from the mother plant may indicate the possibility of seed transport by small rodents (Beerling and Perrins, 1993).
Transport with topsoil is probable (Beerling and Perrins, 1993) but it is not clear, however, to what extent this has occurred in the introduction or spread to new areas. The transport of seed with river gravel in trains was reported in Germany (Hartmann et al., 1995), as well as contamination of building rubbish transported to waste disposal sites.
I. glandulifera was imported as an ornamental species for its showy and scented flowers. It is being used as a garden plant in many European countries and is still sold by seed companies (Beerling and Perrins, 1993). The general public have aided the transport of this species throughout the UK, deliberately planting seeds in hedgerows and grassland (Rotherham, 2000). The flowers are very rich in pollen, and bee-keepers have dispersed seeds in order to enhance forage for honey bees (Hegi, 1912; Hartmann et al., 1995).
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Botanical gardens and zoos||Yes||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
|Digestion and excretion||by rodents, assumed||Yes||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
|Escape from confinement or garden escape||escape from gardens||Yes||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
|Flooding and other natural disasters||Yes||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
|Horticulture||Yes||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
|Intentional release||by bee-keepers, etc.||Yes||Hartmann et al., 1995; Rotherham, 2001|
|Internet sales||assumed, see mail/post||Yes|
|Ornamental purposes||Yes||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
|Self-propelled||upto 7 m||Yes||Beerling and Perrins, 1993|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Growing medium accompanying plants||seeds|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||seeds|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Fruits (inc. pods)|
Economic ImpactTop of page
The UK Environment Agency have estimated it would cost between £150-300 million to eradicate I. glandulifera from the UK should such a control programme be initiated. In Switzerland, Gelpke and Weber (2005) estimated it would cost between CHF 2,183,500 and CHF 13,812,696 (£923,133 to £5,839,691) to eradicate 95% of the current population of I. glandulifera in the Canton of Zürich alone. Such high costs coupled with the difficulty of implementing catchment scale control programmes due to the division of land makes controlling I. glandulifera on a national or regional level virtually impossible. Current control methods are labour intensive and difficult to implement also due to the often inaccessible habitats in which I. glandulifera grows. Control costs range from £0.50/m2 for a single chemical application, or manual control by strimming up to £10/m2 when habitat restoration is included (Tanner et al., 2008).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Social ImpactTop of page
Although social impacts are difficult to quantify, the fact that I. glandulifera can restrict access to rivers for recreation and other amenities should be noted.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Pioneering in disturbed areas
- Tolerant of shade
- Highly mobile locally
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Modification of successional patterns
- Monoculture formation
- Negatively impacts forestry
- Reduced amenity values
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - shading
- Competition - smothering
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Other Impatiens species are somewhat similar but differ in conspicuous features: The Asian I. parviflora is much smaller and has small pale-yellow flowers. Also, the yellow flowered European I. noli-tangere and the orange flowered American I. capensis are both smaller morphologically. The garden ornamental I. balsamina that occasionally escapes to waste ground in North America and in Europe has pubescent stems and capsules and usually single flowers.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
I. glandulifera is not resistant to grazing or cutting. Maintaining traditional forms of land-use in grassland will prevent invasion into such vegetation. Mowing and grazing can also be successful in eliminating existing infestations though this would need repeating annually and on a catchment scale.
As an annual, and in discrete areas, I. glandulifera can be more easily controlled than perennial invasive plants. Any control must aim at preventing the plants from setting seed. Best results are achieved by applying mechanical control late in the season, i.e. when the plants are in flower or beginning to flower. Early cutting of the plants below the first node can control populations though this is labour intensive. In Germany, several mechanical methods have been tested (Hartmann et al., 1995), and mowing with or without removal of the plant material, mulching or soil cultivation have all been successful. In larger stands and where soil conditions permit, agricultural machinery may be used. Where the soil is wet and soft, heavy machinery will damage the soil and provide open spaces ideal for re-establishment. In smaller stands, hand-held brush cutters can be used and hand-pulling of the plants is also feasible. In such cases, care has to be taken that pulled plants find no chance to re-grow where they are deposited. For lasting success, the area should be monitored for re-growth.
Both selective herbicides such as 2,4-D and triclopyr, and non-selective herbicides such as glyphosate were found suitable in controlling I. glandulifera. According to the locally applicable law, a permit may be required to use herbicides, in particular near water.
Since 2006, research has been conducted on the biological control of I. glandulifera, where numerous surveys for natural enemies have been conducted throughout the plants native range (India and Pakistan). Due to the high level damage observed in the field, the rust fungus Puccinia komarovii was prioritised for further study. Cross inoculation studies revealed a high level of specificity of this rust towards I. glandulifera and as such, the rust was renamed as a variety, P. komarovii var. glanduliferae (Tanner et al., 2014). Experiments were conducted to determine the lifecycle of the rust and revealed that it is macrocyclic (has all five spore stages) and is autoecious (completes its lifecycle on I. glandulifera only) (Tanner et al., 2015). Host-specificity testing assessed 75 non-target plant species including several varieties of selected species and proved that the rust is a true specialist to its natural host I. glandulifera (Tanner et al., 2015). A Pest Risk Assessment (PRA), which fully detailed the research conducted on the host-range, lifecycle and ecology of the rust was submitted to FERA in 2014; this was followed by a public consultation. The PRA underwent further evaluation by the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Plant Health and following their feedback Defra Ministers approved the release of an isolate from India in July 2014. Since then, the rust has been released at selected sites in England and Wales. Further details of rust releases in the UK can be found in Varia et al. (2016).
Biotype inoculation experiments undertaken at CABI have shown that the susceptibility of I. glandulifera to the rust can vary dramatically between individual populations of I. glandulifera even when grown under the same environmental conditions. For example, susceptible populations (supporting successful sporulation of the rust) and populations that are completely resistant (no symptoms of infection) to the rust have been identified (Varia et al., 2016). A molecular study by Nagy and Korpelainen (2015) concluded that there have been multiple introductions of I. glandulifera from both Pakistan and India into the UK. As rust fungi are highly host specific, it is believed that different strains of the rust exist which have evolved with distinct biotypes of the plant. As such, a strain from Pakistan is currently being assessed against UK populations of I. glandulifera and results show that it infects a different range of UK populations to the strain from India (Varia et al., 2016). Permission to release this strain from quarantine was approved by Defra in January 2017 and this strain will be trialled in the field at selected sites during 2017.
Integrated control must aim at maximizing the control effect while minimizing environmental side effects. Due to the downstream transportation of seeds, control measures in the catchment area of a river must start at the upper reaches and move on downstream. However, this is often impossible due to the division of land ownership and high associated costs.
Tanner and Gange (2013) suggested that after the removal of I. glandulifera from an area, to prevent re-establishment and colonisation by other non-native species, native species should be reintroduced to promote arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi which have been depleted.
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ContributorsTop of page
29/03/17 Updated by:
Kate Pollard, CABI, Egham, Surrey, UK
26/05/2008 Updated by:
Rob Tanner, CABI, Egham, Surrey, UK
Distribution MapsTop of page
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