These days, we know what plants ARE legal in Massachusetts (insert recreational marijuana joke here) but what about plants that are not legal in the Bay State?

In doing some research, there is actually a list of 141 plants that are on the "prohibited plant" list in Massachusetts according to the state's Department of Agricultural Resources. According to the state's website, the list prohibits the importation, sale, and trade of plants determined to be invasive in Massachusetts. This ban also covers the purchase and distribution of these plants and related activities and includes all cultivars, varieties, and hybrids of the species listed.

What about plants that are indigenous to Massachusetts but are illegal to pick?

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According to our research, Lady Slippers are at the top of the list. The Lady Slipper, like all orchids, is protected from picking by a Massachusetts state law passed in 1935. Lady Slippers are listed as endangered or threatened in New England. Although regulations on picking or transplanting lady slipper plants vary from state to state, either practice is generally discouraged and it is illegal to pick or dig up lady slipper plants on Federal properties.

It's not however illegal to pick them in our neighboring state of New Hampshire. They are included on the ‘special concerns’ list because they have propagation and climate issues, but they are legal to pick. It’s often thought that the lady slipper is protected by New Hampshire state law, but officials say the confusion stems from our law close by in Massachusetts.



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