Indian Balsam is, as the name suggests, native to India. More specifically to the Himalayas, it is also commonly referred to as Himalayan Balsam. It was introduced to Kew Gardens in 1839 and is thought to have mainly been spread by people passing seeds to each other. The seeds can travel a long way by floating in waterways before germinating in a bank somewhere. It is a rapidly growing plant and therefore a quick invader. There has been a lot of investigation in to the problems caused by this species, it is known to outcompete our native species quickly, leaving bare banks in the winter as it dies after the first frost. Some research has also shown that bees will preferentially choose this species over our native vegetation. It is now an offence to plant it in England and Wales. It has been found mainly in the upper catchment of the River Thame. This plant can be managed by volunteers, if you would like to get involved in this then please let us know.