Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - June 24, 2008

From: Biloxi, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Federal database on use of wildflowers
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Recently read about wedding planned to reduce typical costs AND "go green." One action the bridal party took was to decorate with wildflowers. I was appalled. So, my question, because apparently..my search so far has revealed..each state may have different laws regarding picking wildflowers. QUESTION: Can you direct me to any national database that "summarizes" the basic regulations BY STATE regarding the harvesting of native wildflowers? (If not, wow!..wouldn't that be a super project for some industrious grad student in botany, biology, ag econ, conservation, etc., etc., etc.??

ANSWER:

Simple answer: No.

Bridal magazines and home decorating publications have to come up with something new to write about constantly. Going green is currently very popular, and decorating with wildflowers, as opposed to non-native flowers that come from greenhouses, is an attractive way to do it. One previous answer we want to refer you to was from a couple who were planning their wedding on land belonging to their families, and, a year and a half in advance, were clearing and preparing to plant wildflowers, as well as planning the date around when those flowers would be in their best bloom. We tried to address the general question of picking wildflowers in this previous answer on wildflowers in Pennsylvania.

Our basic message is that wild plants left where they were growing will continue to be seen and enjoyed by others, will remain to drop seeds, and then reproduce for the future. As long as you are not on private property without permission or in a protected area, certainly it's okay to pick a few wildflowers, but don't pick them all, or destroy them "just for fun." Most of the large fields of wildflowers are on private property, and have remained because the owners have declined to destroy the flowers by mowing or permitting grazing until the flowers have had the opportunity to seed. And since many people planning weddings or otherwise interested in wildflowers probably live in urban areas where large fields of wildflowers are not available, this doesn't seem to us too compelling a problem.

One final point-even if there were laws about picking wildflowers, who would enforce them? The Wildflower Police are not always around with radar and binoculars. No matter what laws there are, there will always be people who abuse Nature in various ways. We can only try to educate people on the value of native plants, and the necessity to preserve and propagate them.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Hardiness of Mexican bush sage in USDA Zone 7
September 25, 2006 - I have a Mexican Sage (salvia). I need to know the care of it especially because it is a gift and the plant is about 5 ft. With the weather and the red clay I don't know if I could plant it or just ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Shaded Slope in Philadelphia
April 17, 2015 - I have a small slope along the North side of my house in a suburb of Philadelphia. A small maple tree grows there but most of it gets no sun at all (a large segment is under the tree). I had the soil ...
view the full question and answer

Sunlight needs for native wildflower seedlings from Double Oaks TX
January 27, 2014 - Last December I created a flower bed for my parents' backyard and sowed native wildflower seeds (obtained from Native American Seed). The bed is in full sun most of the day, and the seeds are alread...
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers for Denver, Colorado area
March 17, 2007 - I live in the Denver, CO area and would like to plant more native wildflowers. Can you please tell me where I can find a list?
view the full question and answer

Grasses and wildflowers for Central Texas
December 29, 2008 - I live between Bastrop and Paige and would like to know native grasses or types of wildflowers I can plant now. thank you
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.