Re: Field Collecting

Carl Strohmenger (
Fri, 10 Feb 1995 16:30:12 -0500 (EST)

I have been following the thread *CP Confiscation* with some interest.
In one of Rick Walker's replies, he recommended against field collecting
of plants. I think that I can elaborate on the consequenses of field
collecting in Florida.

Recently, I asked a representative of the DPI (Division of Plant
Industries) in the Dept of Agriculture in Florida to come to a meeting of
the Suncoast Native Plant Society in Tampa. We asked them for a
presentation on the law in Florida as it concerns taking plant material
from *the wild*.

The nitty-gritty of Florida law is that it is illegal to take *ANY* plant
material from anyone elses property without the property owners' written
permission. *ANY* includes seeds, leaves, cuttings, whole plants, etc.

In addition, if the plant species is listed as endangered on the state or
federal list, you must also apply for and receive and have in your
possession a permit to harvest endangered plants or parts thereof. ( This
is form PI-51 Rev 10/92 ) This permit application is processed by the
DPI. And they do not *have* to issue such a permit although if the
property owner is agreeable, and you have enough information and the
information is correct, you will probably get the permit.

(It is worth noting, that almost every species of CP in Florida is either
listed as endangered or threatened.)

In addition, if the plant species is listed as *commercially exploited*,
you must have a permit to harvest 3 or more plants or parts threrof.
(This is form PI-133 Rev 5/94) At this time there are 12 species on the
commercially exploited list in Florida. This application is also
processed by DPI.

These permit regulations are in response to "... the *Preservation of the
Native Flora of Florida* law, section 581.185 of the Florida Statutes and
Rule Chapter 5B-40. The purpose is to prevent the wanton destruction of
native plants and to encourage propagation and salvage of plants being
destroyed through property development. Those persons wishing to deal in
endangered plants are encouraged to harvest plants from areas that are
being cleared for highways, farming, reforestation, or development.
Propagation of endangered plants is encouraged." (Quoted from DPI form
PI-51 Rev 10/92)

I have participated in one *Plant Rescue* with the proper permits and
everything went smoothly. The important thing is to send in the
application at least 5 weeks ahead of the scheduled harvest date, so that
you can get the permit back in time. It often takes 4 weeks for the
permit application to be processed.

The penaltied for violation can be severe, monetary fines and/or jail time.

I don't know what the law requires in other states, but it is worth while
finding out how to do it legally, so that you don't get into serious
trouble with the law.

- Carl Strohmenger