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Himalayan BalsamPhoto Credit: Nicole Kimmel, Alberta Agriculture & Forestry       

Common Name: Himalayan balsam

Scientific Name: Impatiens glandulifera

Habitat: shoreline - in water and on land, forests - wet areas, ornamental beds

Provincial Designation: Prohibited Noxious

Prohibited Noxious weeds are plant species that are designated as "prohibited noxious" in the Alberta weed regulation. Prohibited noxious weeds must be destroyed, meaning all growing parts need to be killed or the plant's reproductive mechanisms need to be rendered non-viable.


Himalayan Balsam, also called Policeman’s helmet, is native to the western Himalayas. It was introduced to North America as an ornamental garden plant and was first recorded in Connecticut in 1883.

Legislated Because

Himalayan balsam is an aggressive invader of wetlands, streams and moist woodlands where it displaces native and beneficial vegetation, causing loss in native biodiversity. Seeds can be transported by water which helps this weed to spread quickly along waterways.


The large white, pink, or purple flowers resemble a British policeman’s helmet.

The leaves are egg-shaped or elliptic with pointed tips and have a prominent red middle vein. They are arranged oppositely or in whorls of three. The leaf edges are sharply serrated and have glands.

Its stems grow 1-3 m tall.

Learn more about this species:

See Fact Sheet - Alberta Invasive Species Council

For More Information

Weed Management


In Edmonton: 311

Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311


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