Himalayan Balsam invades the Wetlands

Cabragh Wetlands Art Group has produced some wonderful work over the year - come and see the display currently on view in our Centre.

Cabragh Wetlands Art Group has produced some wonderful work over the year - come and see the display currently on view in our Centre.

The group now meets on Thursday mornings from 10.30-12.30, and has a teacher in to assist, advise and inspire. New members are very welcome, whatever your standard. This is a group that encourages the beginner and stretches the skills of the more experienced. Tea and biscuits will help keep the creative juices flowing.

It was, we must suppose, a well-intentioned and generous gift. Within a week of our excellent work crew finishing off a piece of ground by the hide, soil raked and grass seed already sprouting, three fine plants appeared, evenly spaced two metres apart, 30 centimetres high. Beautiful deep pink-white flowers drew in bumblebees, which disappeared completely into the petal bells, emerging dappled white with fresh pollen. Long green leaves tapered to a point, branching off a sturdy brown stem that seemed well capable of growing to support a far larger plant.

Yes, very beautiful. The only problem is that this lovely plant is one other than Himalayan Balsam, at or near the top of the list of “most unwanted” invasive plant species. Spreading rapidly along waterways, it chokes and strangles native plants, taking over substantial areas of riverbank and wetland. Himalayan Balsam has been shown to affect the growth of Purple Loosestrife.

Full notes in this week’s Tipperary Star.