Permission for the commercial removal, treatment or processing of wild plants (including lichens and fungi) that are not specially protected is granted by the lower nature conservation authority at the district administrative authorities. As a rule, this is granted by means of a written decision.
Permission is to be granted if the population of the species in question at the place of removal is not endangered and the natural balance is not significantly impaired. The removal must be carried out with care. When deciding on removals for the purpose of regional seed production, the beneficial effects on the objectives of nature conservation and landscape management shall be taken into account (Section 39 (4) of the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG)).
Plants within the meaning of the Federal Nature Conservation Act are:
- wild plants, plants obtained by artificial propagation, and dead plants of wild species,
- seeds, fruits or other developmental forms of plants of wild species,
- readily recognizable parts of plants of wild species, and
- readily recognizable products obtained from plants of wild species.
For the purposes of this Act, plants also include lichens and fungi.
No official permit is required for the private collection of small quantities of certain plants that are not specially protected for personal use. Anyone may take and appropriate wild flowers, grasses, ferns, mosses, lichens, fruits, mushrooms, tea and medicinal herbs as well as branches of wild plants from nature in small quantities for personal use in places that are not subject to a ban on entering. (§ 39 para. 3 BNatSchG).
Wild plants of specially protected species or their developmental forms may not be taken from nature (§ 44 para. 1 no. 4 BNatSchG). Exceptions are possible for certain purposes, such as research, and with prior permission of the higher nature conservation authority at the government (§ 45 para. 7 BNatSchG). For certain mushrooms, which are taken from nature in small quantities for own needs, exceptions exist (§ 2 Abs. 1 BArtSchV)