Pick ’em if you find ’em: Fiddlehead permission bill defeated in House

Look for a deep, “U”-shaped groove on the inside of the fiddlehead stem, as well as brown, papery scales covering newly emerging fiddleheads.
Courtesy of David Fuller, UMaine Cooperative Extension
Look for a deep, “U”-shaped groove on the inside of the fiddlehead stem, as well as brown, papery scales covering newly emerging fiddleheads.
Posted June 07, 2013, at 4:01 p.m.
Last modified June 07, 2013, at 5:37 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Legislature on Friday unanimously defeated LD 421, An Act to Prohibit the Unauthorized Harvesting of Wild Mushrooms and Fiddleheads.

Both the House and Senate accepted the “ought not to pass” report from the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

The measure sought to add fiddleheads and wild mushrooms that are sold commercially into the same category as Christmas trees and evergreen boughs, and to force commercial pickers to first obtain written permission from landowners.

Fiddleheads, defined in the bill as the “coiled frond of the ostrich fern,” are a popular spring crop among pickers who are often secretive about their picking spots, which frequently grow on river or streambed land owned by others. The ferns are often sold at roadside stands and in some supermarkets during the spring.

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