VOLUNTEERS have descended on a Queensbury park to rid it of an invasive flower that may look pretty but has been described as “the devil in disguise.”

Himalayan Balsam has spread over a large part of Littlemoor Park in Queensbury over the past year, so a group of 16 people took part in a “balsam blitz” to pull up the plant .

The non-native plant has a purple flower, and is also referred to as Policeman’s Helmet and Gnome’s Hatstand. It has seed pods that “explode” seeds for several metres, and this means the plant can spread very quickly.

The blitz was organised by the Rotary Sidekicks group, with support from Bradford Council. Carolyn Bowe, from the group, said: “It has just come up this year. It is a beautiful flower, but it creates a two fold problem. It grows so quickly that it takes over some areas, and it also draws bees away from natural wildflower areas”.