Did you know it’s illegal to pick saw palmetto berries in Florida? Here’s why

Flagler County officials warn residents during berry-picking season

Forbidden fruit: Stop picking palmetto berries on Flagler County public property (News4JAX)

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – The end of summer marks the beginning of saw palmetto season, where the plant is in full bloom and the berries are plentiful.

Picking the fruit on county-owned land is illegal, but did you know you could be arrested for picking them on your own property too?

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Florida law requires residents to have a permit to harvest saw palmetto berries on privately-owned land, including your own.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office issued a reminder of this law on Friday, saying that this time of year is when illegal berry harvesting is most prevalent.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services implemented the permit requirement in 2018, after the Endangered Plant Advisory Council recommended they add saw palmetto berries to the commercially exploited plant list, according to FDACS.

“Palmetto berry harvesting activities reduce the amount of food available for wildlife and can create unwanted trails and debris on our public lands,” Flagler County Public Lands and Natural Resource Manager Mike Lagasse said in a release.

More information and applications for a saw palmetto berry harvesting permit can be found here.

Anyone who suspects someone is harvesting palmetto berries on county-owned property is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 386-313-4911.

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Morgan joined ClickOrlando.com in June 2023.