Rust fungus to tackle ‘out of control’ UK invasive

A specialist natural enemy of Himalayan balsam is being introduced as part of a trial to kill off the invasive plant that has spread throughout south Wales.

Invasive species cost the UK economy £1.8bn every year, according to government figures. Experts believe the UK is home to around 2,000 non-native species, with about 10-15% of these deemed invasive – a plant or animal that does not have a natural predator to keep its numbers in check.

Himalayan balsam, Impatiens glandulifera, first introduced in the UK in 1829, is one such plant that has invaded swathes of the River Wye catchment without much resistance, smothering native plants and reducing biodiversity.

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