Is it illegal to pick flowers in parks and on road verges?

What are the rules about picking wild flowers? You may be surprised. We take a look at the legal guidelines...

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It may be some time before David Taylor, from Nottingham, lets his children pick daffodils from the roadside again. That\s because his 10-year-old and 5-year-old daughters were stopped by a police officer – and the 27 flowers they’d picked were ‘confiscated’.

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David – like us, it has to be said – didn’t realise that picking flowers on a roadside verge was illegal.

Where David went wrong (as many of us would) is by not knowing that you can’t pick flowers from any park, roundabout or verge that’s maintained by a council or community organisation.

And even if you’re quite sure you’ve found flowers growing in the wild, you must be careful not to pick any endangered or rare plants, too. (Not that you’re likely to come across many of them, thankfully.)

So what are the rules about picking flowers?

Under the 1968 Theft Act and the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, it’s illegal in the UK to:

  • pick, uproot or destroy any wild plant without permission from the landowner or occupier. This includes wildflowers growing in council parks and council-maintained displays on protected land, verges, roundabouts and nature reserves. It would also include flowers growing on National Trust properties.
  • pick flowers, fruit, foliage or mushrooms growing wild on any land for the purpose of selling them.
  • pick rare or endangered flowers.

So, lesson learned: it’s probably best to stump up for your daffs at a shop.

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