Is It Illegal to Pick Wildflowers in Michigan?
Spring is a time for blossoms and blooms! With all of the rain we’ve had…and the early warm weather, we are starting to see bursts of color here and there. If you see flowers you like in a field or growing along the side of the road, are you allowed to pick a bunch? Can you dig them up and replant them in your own yard?
I’ll admit, I have a favorite wildflower (the purple and white Dames Rocket that should be popping up along the roadside soon!) that I’ve wanted to have growing in my own yard. I may have even stopped to check them out. But, is it legal to take these wildflowers?
According to the USDA: “It is illegal to pick or collect plants without a permit from National Forests, Parks or Monuments without a special permits for scientific and educational purposes. On state and private lands: It is illegal to cut, destroy, mutilate, or remove any native tree, shrub, fern, herb, bulb, cactus or flower from public lands. It is also illegal to take plants from private land without written permission from the owner. State or County highway rights-of-way: It is illegal to cut, destroy, mutilate, or remove plants growing upon State or county rights-of-way." This means no collecting along the side or in view of a road.
Why shouldn’t we be able to pick or replant wildflowers? The first thing to keep in mind is that these plants are a source of food for pollinators such as bees, birds and bats. Some plants may be invasive species in our state. Some may be protected on the Endangered Species Act of the State of Michigan. Another reason is that they might have insects on them that you are now bringing into your own yard.
Removing a wildflower could drastically reduce the future of the plant if it is not there to produce seeds. And, changes to the plant’s environment make it less likely to survive.
Bottom line? Enjoy them from a distance and take a ‘bunch’ of pictures!