23rd September 2015

The Himalayan Balsam, a relative of the harmless Busy Lizzie, and the fastest growing annual in the UK, achieving up to 2.5 metres in a single season, is causing increasing problems for the ecological balance of our wetlands and damp areas. This invasive species, introduced as a garden plant in 1839, can produce 800 seeds per plant and eject the seeds, with its amazing catapult action, over 4 metres. It is an offence under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act to enable its spread. If you want to know how to eradicate it, the great wild flower charity ‘Plantlife’¬† tells you how (and why not join Plantlike at the same time!). Although it smothers other plants, Bees, Wasps and flies do like to feed from it, gathering pollen onto their backs as they do so, as you can see from the photos. They use the wide petals as landing platforms. Conditions: A wonderfully sunny day down south. Temperature: Max 17- Min 13c.

A Bee approaches the landing platform.

A Bee approaches the landing platform.

Entering the tube of the flower, to reach the nectar, they gather pollen on their backs and then pollinate other flowers they visit.

Entering the tube of the flower, to reach the nectar, they gather pollen on their backs and then pollinate other flowers they visit.

Wasps pollinate the flowers too

Wasps pollinate the flowers too

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