Hamble Campbell's Home Page

An occasional window on Hamble Campbell's world.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Non-native explosive specialist found by Thames

For the first time, I saw a patch of Impatiens glandulifera, aka Himalayan Balsam, aka Policeman's Helmet, growing near the river in our village.

This is a very invasive species which will no doubt soon be muscling out less pushy home-grown plants. I read in my Clapham, Tutin and Warburg (1959 edition) that this plant is "locally common in N and W England and Wales, less so in S E England, Scotland and Ireland, but increasing.

The exciting thing about this flower is its exploding seed capsules, which really are comulsive popping material, a rival for bubble wrap. Catch a pod at its ripest, and when the sides are pressed ..... well, CT&W describe it thus: "loculicidal capsule with the valves dehiscing elastically and coiling". No wonder its march across Britain is so phenomenal.


  • At 13 August, 2005 12:19, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very interesting. You ought to write a column for the Sunday mags; you obviously have a literary talent. Much like myself, really, but I am working on my Sci-Fi novel at present.
    Best regards,
    R from Cornwall.

  • At 13 August, 2005 22:32, Blogger Irene Adler said…

    Cornish R - Your kind words are much appreciated. I look forward to reading your blog (when you start one). Had you considered including an element of horror fantasy in your Sci-Fi novel? It would at least broaden your market.


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