Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Gathering and picking wild plants, fungi and fruits

Gathering wild plants, forest fungi and fruits

What you must do

You must not dig up wild plants. You must not even pick some species such as the Fritillary and several orchid species.

You will need permission to gather or pick any wild growing plants or fruits for commercial or private use. This includes:

  • wild plants
  • mosses
  • lichens
  • heather
  • acorns
  • nuts
  • fungi
  • resins.

To get permission:

in Northern Ireland:

  • on private land, you will need to contact the landowner
  • on Forest Service land in Northern Ireland, contact the Forest Service
  • on land in the public estate in Northern Ireland, contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) Natural Heritage Division

In Scotland:

  • refer to the Outdoor Access Code.

Outdoor access code: collecting wild food

DAERA: NI Forest Service

NIEA: Natural heritage division

Special or important sites

You must take extra precautions to avoid causing damage to plants if the site is:

  • an area or site of specific scientific interest (ASSI or SSSI)
  • a regionally important geological or geomorphological site (RIGS).

If your site is designated as an ASSI, SSSI or RIGS, you must also contact your conservation regulator for permission and advice.

NIEA: Biodiversity

Nature Scot

Good practice

When picking wild plants, you should take great care and always consider the impact on the environment. Flowers produce seeds and removing flowers will reduce the seed crop the plants require to produce a new generation.

Forestry research: Forest biodiversity

SEE ALSO: Nature conservation

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