Last week I took part in a Walking and Drawing session, which focussed on a local burn.  The artist leading the session picked out some Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) for me to draw.  This plant is prolific along the burn and is an invasive non-native species, subject to many an eradication programme.  It likes growing along river banks and spreads extremely fast with exploding seed heads!  It’s an apt plant to be picked out for me as I spent a summer co-leading volunteers in the removal of this invasive species, pretty much for 3 months at least 3/4 days a week – aah, the memories 😉

Having spent a summer so closely immersed in this plants removal I thought I was quite familiar with it and its structure.  But while sitting drawing this plant I noticed the structure of the flower was far more delicate than I had ever noticed.

Himalayan Balsam - Of Tracks & Antlers

Himalayan Balsam Flower

The actual flower is attached via a small, thin hanging stalk and looks extremely delicate.  The seed pods are just beginning to develop also and are on a similar stalk (which I had noticed previously).  Once they are “ripe” just a simple touch of the pod will cause it to burst open dispersing seeds all round.  The plant can grow to over 6 feet high, comprising a strong stem that is in contrast to the delicate feeling of the flowers.  The main point of this observation is the fact I never noticed this small detail of the flower until I sat down to sketch it.  A nice reminder that even although we are looking, we are not seeing.

Himalayan Balsam Sketch by Of Tracks & Antlers

Himalayan Balsam Sketch