Battling against Himalayan Balsam

Published: 30 Aug 2023

Despite its attractive appearance, Himalayan Balsam is a significant threat to our native wildlife. This invasive species was originally introduced as an ornamental plant, but it has spread rapidly, outcompeting native vegetation.
The Balsam's fast growth and explosive seed dispersal overwhelms wild plants. The native plants are shaded out and the species that they support are soon lost. Its presence along riverbanks can also lead to erosion.
Our Wilder Horsham District Project and their amazing volunteers have been battling Himalayan Balsam in the Pulborough area. Find out more about this pretty pink pest and Wilder Horsham District's attempts to erase it.

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Earning their stripes

Cinnabar Moth caterpillars can be found in their hundreds, munching away on yellow-flowered Ragwort. Their bold black-and-gold stripes make them easy to identify. 

Cinnabar Moth caterpillars are able to store Ragwort’s alkaloid poison in their bodies as they feed. This protection is passed on through chrysalis and finally to the colourful red and black Cinnabar Moth. Predators, including birds, pay attention to the striking colouration of both the caterpillar and moth, as it warns them that they are distasteful to eat.

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