Picking & Collecting Plants - what you need to know

UK Legal Aspects

Did you know:
  • It is illegal to dig a wild plant up without getting appropriate permissions.
  • It is against the law to pick any part of a plant that is on the protected species list of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act and similar general protection is given to all plants in Northern Ireland, under the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order, 1985.
  • Entering someone else’s land to pick the wild plants comes under the trespass of land law.
  • If the plant is on some else’s land then the plant belongs to them and you should obtain the land owner’s permission.

Points to consider when picking wild plants:

  • Don’t pick all of the plant - you should leave a substantial amount to allow it to continue to grow.
  • If the plant isn’t a protected species you are allowed to pick the flowers, leaves, and fruit of the plant and this includes fungi.
  • Try not to disturb the ground in the area where you are collecting the leaves.
  • Do not disturb wildlife within the area.
  • Plants should be for personal use and not for resale.
  • Do not pull up the whole plant with the intention of replanting it in your own garden as this is illegal and you could be arrested.

Also, it is important that you don’t pick cultivated plants which are growing in:

  • Council owned parks, verges, and roundabouts
  • Community gardens
  • Nature reserves
  • Protected land
  • Neighbours' gardens
  • Remember you could face prosecution if you don’t uphold the law