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Mr. Smarty Plants - Is it illegal to pick the state flower (Mountain laurel) in Connecticut?

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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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

 

 

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