|Photo Credit: Frank Townsley|
Purple policeman’s helmet (Impatients glandulifera) is a non-native invasive annual. It is tall (1 to 2 meters), extremely fast growing and frequently covers the ground in riparian areas preventing native plants from establishing. Policeman’s helmet mostly grows in moist areas and can grow in full sun or in shade. The plant dies in winter, leaving bare ground that is prone to erosion and susceptible to flooding. However it is quite easy to control if it is pulled by the root. Several volunteers gather at Burnaby Lake over the summer to remove this invasive plant.
If you come across this invasive plant with showy pink flowers, remember not to touch it as the mature seedpods split and eject seeds up to 20 feet!