Florida Plant Collecting and Transport
Regulations and Permitting
University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS)
Plant collecting in Florida, whether for scientific, commercial or personal purposes, is, in most cases, subject to a variety of regulations. The information presented here is intended to help the plant collector determine which permits are necessary and how to obtain them. The laws and regulations in this regard are complex and subject to frequent change in content and interpretation. No claim to the accuracy and thoroughness of this information is made. Contact the agency responsible for administration of each regulation for current policy.
Two types of regulation should be considered when plant collecting:
- Special protection and regulation of particular species (aquatic and wetland, invasive/noxious weeds, endangered species (state/federal/international laws).
- Right of access to property where the plants are growing.
Additionally, permits are required for the transport of certain noxious weeds intra- or inter-state and across international borders. It is completely prohibited to transport certain noxious weeds across international borders. And, the transport of CITES-listed endangered species across international borders is regulated.
Regulations vary, but generally apply to pressed and alcohol preserved specimens as well as fragments preserved for DNA analysis. The import and export of living material over international borders is subject to additional regulations not covered in this document.
LEGALLY PROTECTED SPECIES|
Aquatic and Wetland Plants
- Aquatic Plant Collection. A permit is required for the collection of plants that are floating, emersed, submersed, or ditchbank species growing in, or closely associated with, an aquatic environment. Collection means the removal or gathering of of any aquatic plant, including any part or seed thereof, from the place in which it is growing in the natural environment. The collection of aquatic plants and noxious aquatic plants from state lands is regulated by the Aquatic Plant Importation, Transportation, Non-Nursery Cultivation, Possession and Collection (Rule Chapter 5B-64 of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry) under authority from the Florida Statutes. "The collection of aquatic plant material from sovereignty lands is prohibited unless a permit is issued by the bureau. This permit shall constitute permission from the Division of State Lands and authorization for such collection." "Herbaria of educational or research institutions shall not be required to possess a permit for its preserved specimens, however a permit shall be required for the collection or importation of live specimens." Consult the Division of Plant Industry of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Plant Inspection page for more information. The following permit applications are relevant:
FDACS-08450 - Application for Permit to Collect Non-Prohibited Aquatic Plant
FDACS-08235 - Application/Permit to Possess and Cultivate Class II Prohibited Aquatic Plants
Important: There are additional regulations in regards to the collection of noxious aquatic weeds.
Noxious Weeds and Invasive Species
- Aquatic Plant Importation, Transportation, Non-Nursery Cultivation, Possession and Collection (Rule Chapter 5B-64 of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry) under authority from the Florida Statutes. "No person, except aquatic plant nurseries regulated by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, shall engage in any business activity involving the importation, transportation, sale or possession of any aquatic plant species without a permit issued by the department unless expressly exempted by Rule 5B-64.010, F.A.C. Collection activities exempted from permitting requirements under this chapter, when undertaken on private or sovereignty lands, must be authorized by the landowner."..."The collection of aquatic plant material from sovereignty lands is prohibited unless a permit is issued by the bureau. This permit shall constitute permission from the Division of State Lands and authorization for such collection." "Herbaria of educational or research institutions shall not be required to possess a permit for its preserved specimens, however a permit shall be required for the collection or importation of live specimens." Consult the Division of Plant Industry of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Plant Inspection page for more information.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service Federal noxious weed program is designed to prevent the introduction into the United States of nonindigenous invasive plants and to prevent the spread of newly introduced invasive plants within the United States. Important sections include: regulations and the the Federal Noxious Weed List.
- Noxious Weeds in the United States and Canada (a USDA supported part of the Invaders Database System) provides a searchable database of the noxious weed lists for all U.S. states and six southern provinces of Canada. The database can be searched by plant name, state name, or by clicking on a map.
You should have permission of the property owner or responsible agency for all properties on which you collect plants. This includes:
- Florida State Parks. Natural and cultural resources are protected on all Florida State Park lands and may not be removed without written permission. Collection of materials is only allowed for scientific and educational purposes under the Research/Collection Permit program.
- State Forests in Florida are administerd by the Division of Forestry of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
- Private Property. Permission of the land owner is required before you cross onto and collect plants from private property.
- Transportation Corridor Right-of-Ways (Highways, Railroads, etc.) permission from the local Department of Transportation district is required to collect along a Florida state highway. The collector is required to undergo safety training and wear an orange safety vest.
- United States Military Bases, Naval Air Stations and Training Facilities.
- United States National Parks. Permission is required to collect plants in U.S. National Parks. The U.S. National Park Service retains ownership of all specimens collected in national park lands. Therefore, the University of Florida Herbarium will not accession these specimens into our collection. Researchers wishing to collect and study specimens from National Park lands should arrange to collect and deposit the specimens in the National Parks appropriate herbarium. The University of Florida Herbarium may then request those specimens as a loan for study.
- United States National Forests (USDA, Forest Service). Permission is required to collect plants in National Forests. Applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with current policy and the potential biological impact of the collecting. Researchers should contact the respective forest district or the state national forest office for permit applications. The National Forests in Florida web page provides an overview of the four forests in the state (Apalachicola, Ocala and Osceola) and contact information.
LINKS TO OTHER SITES WITH PERMIT INFORMATION|
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Edited by: Kent D. Perkins, University of Florida Herbarium
Page last updated: 3 March 2013
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