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himalayan balsam

Riverbank Reivers

Saturday 18th August 2001, East Lothian

weir on the Esk, Musselburghhimalayan balsam ALONGSIDE THE River Esk at Musselburgh, the seedpods of Himalayan Balsam are ready to explode, throwing the seeds several metres in every direction. A kind of coiled up vegetable spring is triggered by the slightest touch when the pod is ripe. Although it was introduced as a garden plant, and was originally kept in greenhouses, it has proved a successful invader and it now spreads along riverbanks and in damp woodland.

Japanese KnotweedGiant Hogweed Growing alongside it is Japanese Knotweed, another successful invader that orignated as a garden escape. Its canes form dense stands up to the height of a man.

Lurking amongst the trees nearby is Giant Hogweed, introduced from south west Asia, which grows very much taller than a man; up to 5 metres.

red-tailed bumblebee In the churchyard on the hill overlooking the town, a small (1 cm long) Red-tailed Bumblebee visits the flowers of Autumn page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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