Himalayan balsam (also known as “Policemen’s Helmet”) is found primarily near populations centers in the Columbia Shuswap where it spreads from gardens into nearby waterways and ditches.
Himalayan balsam is introduced primarily through gardens. It is an impressive annual plant with a large capacity to produce seed pods which explode to disperse up to 7 meters away. Plants can grow up to 2 meters tall and produce pink, sweet smelling hooded flowers.
The best control is prevention and early action. Do not plant Himalayan balsam in your garden! There are alternative ornamentals that can be grown in their place. Although Himalayan balsam is an annual plant with relatively weak roots and an almost hollow stem its capacity for reproduction makes it very difficult to control once it is established. Hand pull this plant before it goes to seed.
More information about Himalayan balsam control options can be found here: http://www.shim.bc.ca/invasivespecies/_private/himalayan_balsam.htm
Himalayan balsam can produce up to 2,500 seeds per plant. These seeds can remain viable for up to 18 months and have even been known to germinate under water.