Impatiens glandulifera - Royle
Policeman's Helmet
Other English Common Names: Himalayan Balsam
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Impatiens glandulifera Royle (TSN 29187)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.135654
Element Code: PDBAL01060
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Other flowering plants
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Geraniales Balsaminaceae Impatiens
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Impatiens glandulifera
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (12Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
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United States California (SNA), Maine (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), New York (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Washington (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

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Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CAexotic, MA, MEexotic, MIexotic, NYexotic, ORexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Low
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Impatiens glandulifera, an escaped ornamental, is apparently established in limited areas of the west coast, Michigan, and the northeast. It occurs in riparian areas, moist forests, successional forest, wet meadow and, roadside thickets. More information is needed about its impacts and trends in the region of interest. It is quite invasive in Britain and central Europe. It is a tall annual and forms dense infestations that support few native species and prevent the establishment of shrubs and trees. Apparently, its impacts in the region of interest are currently limited. However, studies in Europe showed that Impatiens glandulifera began to spread exponentially after having reached only a few localities. It requires at least some disturbance to invade and high soil moisture. It produces a large quantity of seed, is self-compatible, and is dispersed over long distances via streams. More information is also needed about its management difficulty.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 12Mar2004
Evaluator: Tomaino, A.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to tropical Asia (Weber 2003).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Established outside cultivation in the U.S. (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: In Washington, it occurs in lowland, riparian areas including moist forests, stream sides, and roadside thickets (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: Apparently it does not severely, possibly irreversibly alter ecosystem processes.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Moderate significance
Comments: It is a large herb that is up to 2-5 meters tall; it is the tallest annual herb in the British flora (Beerling and Perrins 1993). It forms dense infestations that support few native species and prevent the establishment of shrubs and trees (Weber 2003). Although much of the study of Impatiens glandulifera has been outside the region of interest, it is presumed that it has similar characteristics in the region of interest.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High/Low significance
Comments: It forms dense infestations that support few native species and prevent the establishment of shrubs and trees (Weber 2003). Although much of the study of Impatiens glandulifera has been outside the region of interest, it is presumed that it has similar characteristics in the region of interest.

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Unknown

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Moderate significance
Comments: In Washington, it occurs in lowland, riparian areas including moist forests and stream sides (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003). In New England, it occurs in early successional forest, floodplain forest, and wet meadow (Mehrhoff et al. 2003). At least some of these communities are presumed to be rare or of high quality.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Established in Washington, Oregon, California, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Low significance
Comments: It is classified as a Class B Noxious Weed in Washington, meaning that it is established in some regions of Washington, but is of limited distribution or not present in other regions of the state (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003). It is not listed in the Invasive Species Report Card for Oregon (Systma 2003). In California, it is possibly naturalized (Baldwin et al. 2004). In Michigan, it is collected rarely as a waif (Voss 1985). In New England, it is reported from southern Vermont, far west and far east Massachusetts, and coastal Maine (Mehrhoff et al. 2003). Apparently, its impacting biodiversity to a limited extent.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Medium/Low significance
Comments: At most 36% of units, inferred from Kartesz (1999) and TNC (2001). At least 4% of units, inferred from Kartesz (1999) and TNC (2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: In Washington, it occurs in lowland, riparian areas including moist forests, stream sides, and roadside thickets (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003). In Michigan, it is collected rarely as a waif in disturbed areas, and along Lake Superior (Voss 1985). In New England, it occurs in early successional forest, edge, floodplain forest, roadsides, and wet meadow (Mehrhoff et al. 2003). It tolerates a wide variety of soil types but requires high soil moisture (WA State Noxious WEed Control Board 2003).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:High/Low significance
Comments: For successful establishment, it requires a moderate amount of local disturbance (Beerling and Perrins 1993). Disturbed areas are not decreasing, therefore it is presumed to be not decreasing. Recently reported as spreading in New York and New England (Jordan 2005).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Moderate significance
Comments: Inferred from USDA (1990) and Kartesz (1999), 10-30% of its potential range in the U.S. is currently occupied. Frost sensitivity may be a limiting factor in its distribution outside its native range (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Seeds are easily dispersed by streams over long distances (Weber 2003). Occasional long distance dispersal events, probably aided by man, are considered to be responsible for the rapid spread of Impatiens grandulifera in the British Isles (Perrins et al. 1993). Animals may also spread the seeds locally (Perrins et al. 1993).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High/Low significance
Comments: For successful establishment, it requires a moderate amount of local disturbance (Beerling and Perrins 1993). Disturbed areas are not decreasing, therefore it is presumed to be not decreasing. Recently reported as spreading in New York and New England (Jordan 2005).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Medium/Low significance
Comments: For successful establishment, it requires a moderate amount of local disturbance (Beerling and Perrins 1993). Impatiens glandulifera needs a chance gap in the vegetation where competition has temporarily been reduced in order to establish (Perrins et al 1993). Riparian habitats are often somewhat disturbed, but this may or may not qualify as a major disturbance. In the Czech Republic, Impatiens glandulifera began to spread exponentially after having reached only a few localities; it is mostly confined to riparian habitats (Pysek and Prach 1993).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Moderate significance
Comments: In Britain, it is completely naturalized on the banks of many types of waterways, waste ground, thin woodlands, and occasionally mires; it occurs in four major types of natural communities, inundated river communities, fens, mesotrophic grasslands, and woodlands (Beerling and Perrins 1993). In the Czech Republic, it is mostly confined to wet habitats including riverbanks and brook shores (Pysek and Prach 1993). In the Czech Republic, it occupies 56% of the length of large river systems (Pysek and Prach 1995 in Nilsson and Berggren 2000). It is also established in Canada (Kartesz 1999). In British Columbia, it occurs on roadsides and waste places in the steppe vegetation and lowland zones and is infrequent in the lower Fraser Valley and extreme south-central, British Columbia (Douglas et al. 1999). It is not reported as having invaded mesotrophic grasslands in the region of interest.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Moderate significance
Comments: Medium-sized plants growing at a density of 20 plants per meter squared produce between 700 and 800 seeds per plant (Beerling and Perrins 1993). Impatiens glandulifera can produce approximately 1700 seeds per plant with approximately 6 seeds per pod (Perrins et al. 1993). A dense population can produce up to 30,000 seeds per meter squared (Weber 2003). It exhibits rapid growth through vegetative phase to flowering (Perrins et al. 1993). It is self-compatible (Perrins et al. 1993). It does not have a persistent seed bank (Weber 2003). However, under some circumstances, seeds can persist as a seed bank for at least 18 months (Beerling and Perrins 1993). Seeds remain viable for two years (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003). It germinates earlier than other annuals and is taller than native vegetation (Perrins et al. 1993). It is an anuual and reproduces only by seed (Pysek and Prach 1993).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Small infestations can be hand-pulled; larger infestations can be mowed close to the ground (Weber 2003). However, plants damaged early in the growing season can resprout and still produce new seeds (Weber 2003). Herbicde is effective with early season and late season application (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003). However, flowering plants sprayed with herbicide still produce viable seed (Beerling and Perrins 1993). Grazing may be effective (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003). Seeds remain viable for two years (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Low significance
Comments: It is an annual (Weber 2003). Seeds remain viable for two years (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:High/Low significance
Comments: Herbicide is one method used to control this species (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003). Therefore, there may be some non-target damage.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:High/Low significance
Comments: It was introduced as an ornamental (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003). Therefore, accessibility may be an issue in some areas.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Baldwin, B.G., S. Boyd, B.J. Ertter, D.J. Keil, R.W. Patterson, T.J. Rosatti and D.H. Wilken. 2004. Jepson Flora Project, Jepson Online Interchange for California Floristics. Regents of the University of California, Berkeley. Online. Available: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/jepson_flora_project.html (Accessed 2004).

  • Beerling, D. J., and J. M. Perrins. 1993. Biological Flora of the British Isles Impatiens glandulifera Royle (Impatiens roylei Walp.). Journal of Ecology 81(2): 367-382.

  • Douglas, G.W., D. Meidinger, and J. Pojar, editors. 1999. Illustrated Flora of British Columbia. Volume 3. Dicotyledons (Diapensiaceae through Onagraceae). British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, and British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Victoria.

  • Douglas, G.W., G.D. Straley, D. Meidinger, and J. Pojar, eds. 1998. Illustrated Flora of British Columbia, Vol. 2, Dicotyledons (Balsaminaceae through Cucurbitaceae). B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, and B.C. Minist. For. Res. Program. 401pp.

  • Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

  • Herbarium, Museum of Man and Nature, 190 Rupert Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

  • Jordan, M. 2005. Weed spread on Long Island, NY (New York, USA). Posting to TNC Invasive Species Listserve: Digest #142 (October 2005). Online. Available: http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/listserv.html (Accessed 2005).

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Mehrhoff, L.J., J.A. Silander, Jr., S.A. Leicht and E. Mosher. 2003. IPANE: Invasive Plant Atlas of New England. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Online. Available: http://invasives.eeb.uconn.edu/ipane/.

  • Nilsson, C., and K. Berggren. 2000. Alterations of riparian ecosystems caused by river regulation. BioScience 50(9): 783-792.

  • Perrins, J., A. Fitter, and M. Williamson. 1993. Population biology and rates of invasion of three Introduced Impatiens species in the British Isles. Journal of Biogeography 20(1): 33-44.

  • Pysek, P., and K. Prach. 1993. Plant invasions and the role of riparian habitats: a comparison of four species alien to central Europe. Journal of Biogeography 20(4): 413-420.

  • Pysek, P., and K. Prach. 1995. Invasion dynamics of Impatiens glandulifera: a century of spreading reconstructed. Biological Conservation 74 (1): 41-48.

  • Scoggan, H.J. 1978. The Flora of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences, National Museum of Canada, Publ. in Botany 7(4).

  • Systma, M. 2003. Invasive Species in Oregon Report Card 2003. Oregon Invasive Species Council. Online. Available: www.oda.state.or.us/plant/Inv_spp. (accessed 2004).

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • USDA Agricultural Research Service. 1990. USDA Plants Hardiness Zone Map. Misc. Publ. Number 1475.

  • Voss, E.G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicotyledons. Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1212 pp.

  • Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. 2003. September 3 last update. Written findings of the State Noxious Weed Control Board for policeman's helmet (Impatiens glandulifera) Class B Weed. Online. Available: http://www.nwcb.wa.gov/weed_info/policehelmit.html. Accessed 2004, March 11.

  • Weber, E. 2003. Invasive plant species of the world: a reference guide to environmental weeds. CABI Publishing, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 548 pp.

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