Himalayan balsam: UK volunteers battle playboy of horticultural world

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Cumbria is latest county to raise SOS as plant causes erosion and smothers other flowers

Himalayan balsam’s attractive exterior masks a deadly intent. Don’t be fooled by its soothing name, pink flowers and pleasant perfume – according to ecologists, this invasive species chokes our waterways, causes riverbank erosion and is smothering our wild flowers at a terrifying rate.

Determined to stop this nefarious weed from colonising even more of Britain’s lowlands, crack squads of “balsam bashers” have been out regularly since spring, hoping to pull up the evil herb before it has chance to flower.

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