Beware of the fine if you pick lily of the valley, too few people know the rules

Lily of the valley is the symbol of May 1st.

Beware of the fine if you pick lily of the valley, too few people know the rules

Lily of the valley is the symbol of May 1st. Picking it in the wild can, however, earn you a hefty fine.

This Wednesday, many French people will take advantage of the Labor Day public holiday. And why not, on this May 1st, go hunting for lily of the valley for some of them. Points of sale for this plant abound during this period. If prices tend to increase - an additional 15% over the past five years according to the federation of artisan florists - the tradition continues. But more and more people are picking in their garden or in the forest and some even take the opportunity to sell a few sprigs on the sly.

Be careful, however, there are certain rules for collecting lily of the valley as well as for making a profit from it. In principle, anyone can sell lily of the valley in the street on the precise date of May 1st. Some municipalities sometimes require a free sales authorization from the town hall, or prohibit sales by minors. It is therefore preferable to find out about the rules specific to each municipality.

As Service-public points out, certain installation locations are also prohibited, particularly near a florist, so as not to compete directly. It is also prohibited to obstruct road and pedestrian traffic or to set up a stand with tables and chairs. Additionally, lily of the valley must be sold as a sprig, without the roots and without packaging. Floral arrangements including lily of the valley are reserved for professionals. However, prices are not controlled: in 2023, they will hover around two euros per strand.

Concerning the picking of lily of the valley, it is also regulated. In his garden, there is obviously no problem. In the forest, you have to be more careful. Harvesting must be authorized by the forest owner, whether public or private. The National Forestry Office (ONF) reminds that collection must be “respectful of the forest environment”. “Be careful not to remove the bulbs from the flowers so as not to prevent their renewal,” specifies the organization.

It is also necessary to collect only the stems in flower and in “limited quantity”. The ONF places the harvest ceiling of 10 to 15 stems per person, or “what the hand can hold”. Criminal sanctions are provided for in the event of excessive collection. This can result in a fine of 135 euros. If the sales rules are not followed afterwards, the amount to be paid can reach more than 300 euros. Lily of the valley sprigs may also be destroyed or confiscated by law enforcement.