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

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

Difference beteen two non-native photinias from Nashville TN
June 07, 2013 - What is the difference between red tip phontinias and fireball phontinias. I read that fireballs are also called red tips but I thought that red tips grow to like 12 ft. and the tag on the fireball I...
view the full question and answer

Should flower stems of Texas mountain laurel be removed after they bloom?
March 02, 2016 - Should I trim off the old flower stems from this years bloom on a Texas Mountain Laurel?
view the full question and answer

Winter pruning of lantana from Austin
February 12, 2013 - I live in north Austin. Due to our mild winter, my lantana has not died off this season as it usually does after a freeze - and so I have not cut it back yet this year which I typically do about right...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for a fenceline in NY
June 16, 2011 - Need to replace shrubs along a fence. Currently have Honeysuckle and they are very old. Would like to have something different with more color & interest during winter months. The line of shrubs are h...
view the full question and answer

Is Savannah Holly poisonous to burn in Hanahan, SC.?
August 20, 2011 - Can you please tell me if the wood from a savannah holly bush is poisonous to burn?
view the full question and answer

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