Is it illegal to pick a California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) in California? Well, let me start with what I think I know. 1) I am not a lawyer nor give legal advice. 2) Outer Sunset gets 30 days more fog than downtown SF. 3) In most cases, it is illegal to pick a CA Poppy.
Here is the skinny I uncovered. Basically, you can’t pick any flower, tree, shrub, etc. on property that you don’t own….e.g. you don’t personal own State Hwys, State Parks, City Parks, you get the idea. The rule of thumb is, Don’t pick it unless it is in your own personal garden. Here is the Penal Code that explains it all, CA Penal Code § 384a, scroll about half way down the page.
I have to laugh when I see how wordy laws can be. The first sentence of Penal Code 384a alone has 371 words in it. I believe my second grade teacher would have classified it as a Run-On Sentence.
Okay, so there are some exceptions in the code I found interesting such as okay to remove plants “if done for the purpose of protecting or maintaining an electric powerline, telephone line, or other property of a public utility“…or “… to persons engaged in logging operations, or in suppressing fires.”
BTW, Poppies don’t last after picked, and don’t like to be transplanted…so really no need to pick them. I hope that clears it up. I know I will sleep better tonight.
— Far Out Flora