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?


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
10 ratings

Wednesday - March 25, 2009

From: Milford, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Is it illegal to pick the state flower (Mountain laurel) in Connecticut?
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Is it illegal to pick the state flower (mountain laurel) in CT?


Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) is, indeed, the State Flower of Connecticut and certainly quite beautiful. I couldn't locate any specific Connecticut law that addressed picking the state flower, but I did find a law (Connecticut Chapter 451—Public Shade Trees and Tree Protection Examining Board) concerning the "Removing, pruning, injuring or defacing certain trees"  saying that if a person does this within the limits of a public way or grounds, they could be fined.  And, according to the newsletter, Pollution Prevention View, from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, "It is illegal to collect any plants from state-owned lands without a permit."  Now, whether picking a flower fits into those descriptions is a matter of interpretation, but I wouldn't think it would be a good idea to pick flowers or other parts of plants of any kind on public land in Connecticut or any other state.  So far as I was able to determine, it is not illegal to pick a flower of the mountain laurel on private land; but, if I were you, I would ask the owner's permission first.  In fact, you should ask permission to be on someone's private land in the first place.  Additionally, you should keep in mind that the mountain laurel is highly toxic and any parts of the plant may be fatal if eaten.

Kalmia latifolia

Kalmia latifolia



More Wildflowers Questions

Storing Rudbeckia Hirta Seed
October 10, 2014 - I just bought and planted your Rudbeckia hirta seed. I have a lot leftover. Can I store it until spring or better yet, next fall? If so, how?
view the full question and answer

Is purple coneflower native to Colorado?
July 20, 2009 - I have seen the purple cone flower growing wild in Gunnison National Forest in Colorado. Is it a native to that state or has it been brought in?
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets and paintbrush for Fredericksburg VA
April 10, 2011 - Can I broadcast Texas bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush seeds, in Virginia, during early Spring and get germination; or, do I need to winterize and plant next spring.
view the full question and answer

Native wildflower garden for Pennsylvania
May 21, 2008 - Hello, I am interested in making a garden, and I would like to use only or mostly native wildflowers in it. Do you have any good suggestions for wildflowers that I can transplant from places where the...
view the full question and answer

How do I preserve bluebonnet seeds for planting in another area?
May 20, 2010 - How do I preserve Bluebonnet pods or seeds for replanting in another location?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center