En EspaÑol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - March 08, 2009

From: Saxton, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Penalty for picking Kalmia latifolia in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What if any is the penalty for picking the Mountain Laurel wild flower in Pennsylvania when it is in bloom?

ANSWER:

Here is what the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation says about Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel):

"There is a persistent myth that the designation of State flower affords Mountain laurel a protected status. This is not true. No one may remove any plant from public or private land without the landowner's or land manager's permission. But there are no legal restrictions on the cultivation of Mountain laurel."

So, if you have a friend with a mountain laurel, you can pick the flowers with no penalty if they don't mind.  If you pick the flowers on private land without the owner's consent, you could be cited for trespassing and, perhaps, theft.  The rules that apply on public lands are below.

The rules and regulations (applicable to public lands) of the Pennsylvania Conservation and Natural Resources  17 PA CODE § 11.210 say: 

"(a) The following activities are prohibited except with written permission of the Department, or except as provided in subsection (b):  (1)  Cutting, picking, digging, damaging or removing, in whole or in part, a living or dead tree, shrub or plant."

Subsection (b) deals with edible fruits, nuts, berries and fungi that may be gathered "in reasonable amounts, for one's own personal or family cosumption".

Violation of rules regarding conduct on Common wealth property - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 7506 says:

"Violation penalty.--A person who violates any of the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this section is guilty of a summary offense."

A summary offense in Pennsylvania, according to post from a police officer on "Ask a Cop" is "any offense that is punishable by a fine of up to $300 and/or 90 days (max) in jail."

Summary offenses are heard and decided by a district judge. You can read more about them here.


Kalmia latifolia

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plant to stabilize river bank in Wisconsin
July 10, 2011 - We live along the Chippewa River in Pepin County WI and are looking for a blooming plant to help "hold" our river bank and also look attractive..it must be strong enough to take the spring flood.
view the full question and answer

Short, Natural Evergreen Shrubs for Texas
March 12, 2015 - I am looking for small/dwarf evergreen shrubs that, when mature, will be no larger than three feet tall. If possible I would like shrubs that are graceful and more natural looking rather than “regimen...
view the full question and answer

Age before blooming of a Fendler rupicola from Elmendorf TX
April 06, 2014 - How old does a Fendlera rupicola plant have to be before it will bloom?
view the full question and answer

Native plants suitable for rock garden in New York
March 26, 2006 - I'd like to start a rock garden. The area is very rocky, the soil is shallow and it's partially shaded. I'd like mostly perennials that flower from spring to fall. I hope to make some purchases fr...
view the full question and answer

Cool, wet summer effect on evergreen sumac
August 28, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I have 3 evergreen sumac bushes that I planted as a screen between my house and my neighbors two years ago. They are located in a part of our yard that receives a lot of runof...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center