Bright and beautiful when in bloom, the Rocky Mountain Columbine has been Colorado's state flower since April 4, 1899 — but is it legal to pick them when found in the wild on public land?

The answer is no. Like most things that are a part of nature, it's best to leave them untouched and as they are. However, it is actually against the law to pick the Columbine, and is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine ranging from $5 to $50. The law went into effect in 1925, when the General Assembly made it the duty of all citizens to protect this rare species from needless destruction or waste.

While you can't legally pick Columbines from public land, there is a loophole which makes it acceptable to take the flowers from private land – so long as the land owner gives you permission.

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