Picking daffodils and bluebells could land you with a hefty fine of up to £5,000 and possibly prison.

Fields of daffodils may be off limits
Fields of daffodils may be off limits

They might be iconic at this time of year, but if you pick daffodils of bluebells from spots such as public parks this spring you could actually face imprisonment or an eye-watering £5,000 fine.

Plant pros from online garden centre GardeningExpress.co.uk have issued a reminder so flower fans can avoid any of the hefty penalties which can occur from picking particular plants in restricted areas.

The laws regarding flower picking generally fall under two categories – legislation which is part of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 and that which is under the Theft Act of 1968.

The main difference is the distinction made between picking flowers that are growing wild, and picking flowers that have been purposely planted.

Flowers growing in council parks are legally off-limits, and the same goes for council-maintained displays on roundabouts, verges, nature reserves or protected land.

You shouldn’t pick flowers off private land either, otherwise you’d be breaking the 1968 Theft Act.

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If fruit, foliage, fungi or flowers are growing wild and are to be picked for your personal use only, it’s not normally an offence to do so.

Dozens of rare or endangered plants are, however, protected under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. Pick any of these and you could face arrest, up to six months imprisonment and a maximum £5,000 fine.

Even if you’re legally permitted to pick certain wildflowers, you should never uproot them to be re-planted unless you have explicit permission to do so.

You should also only pick one flower for every 20 in the patch. If there are fewer than 20, leave them be.

The Countryside Code was also introduced in 2004 to encourage people to enjoy the countryside responsibly, and outlines that people should protect the natural environment by taking care not to damage, destroy or remove features such as rocks, trees and plants.

Chris Bonnett, from GardeningExpress.co.uk, said: “The rules and regulations to do with picking flowers on British soil are fairly straightforward – but they are enforced by sets of guidelines and codes of conduct.

“Much of it comes down to common sense – you wouldn’t want someone plucking flowers from your own front garden, for instance. Where the lines are slightly more blurred, follow these dos and don’ts to stay on the right side of the law.”

DON’T

Pick flowers in public parks or community gardens

Pick flowers on National Trust property or nature reserves

Pick flowers from roundabouts, which are maintained by the council

Intentionally pick, uproot or destroy any plant without permission from the landowner or occupier

Pick any flower found on the Schedule 8 list of protected plants

Disturb wildlife within the area

DO

Pick flowers which are not privately owned or critically endangered

Pick only one flower out of every 20

Pick flower from patches where there are lots of flowers, leaving plenty for others to enjoy

Leave a substantial amount of the plant to allow it to continue to grow.