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Plant Industry - Plant Protection Section -
Plant Conservation Program

Protected Plant Permits/Certificates of Origin

North Carolina regulations specify that activities such as collecting, selling/trading, and purchasing protected plant species require a permit or certificate of origin issued by the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. The information below summarizes the regulations [02 NCAC 48F .0400] and operational procedures into a written description as well as a flowchart below to help you determine if your activities will require a protected plant permit/certificate of origin or not. If you have any questions, you may contact us directly at (919) 707-3746.

Application for North Carolina Ginseng Dealer PermitPDF Document
More Information for NC Ginseng Harvesters and Dealers

Is my plant a protected species? Click the link to download a copy of the NC Protected Plant List.

Which type of permit do I need? Click the link to download a copy of the flowchart shown below.

Permit Flow Chart



  • Collecting/Rescuing Protected Plants: A PROTECTED PLANT PERMIT is required when rescuing or collecting (scientific collections included) protected plants species on land you do not own—even with landowner permission. This is true for whole plants as well as plant parts (i.e. seeds, leaves, rhizomes, etc.). If you are collecting protected plants or plant parts from your own property and NOT selling or giving them away, then no permit is needed.
  • Purchasing/Acquiring/Obtaining Protected Plants: Individuals who purchase protected species to plant in a home garden do not need a permit; however, a permit IS needed (1) to acquire and relocate a protected species in a non-garden setting—this includes rescuing plants, (2) to propagate, or (3) to re-sell, auction, or otherwise give away a protected species. All commercial operations regarding purchase of protected plant species will require a CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN.

Individuals, organizations, and businesses selling any live plants and other nursery stock in North Carolina must register as a nursery with NCDA&CS . More information can be found at the Nursery Registration page regarding establishing a commerical operation (i.e. nursery).

To apply for a Protected Plant Permit, download the Protected Plant Permit Application Form and email a completed copy to Jennifer Stanley []. Please include your name on all documents and attachments. You must also include a copy of the written permission from the land owner/ land manager to collect or otherwise work with protected plant species. For private land owners this can be in the form of a signed, dated letter; for public lands, contact the land manager to appy for permission with their agency. If your project requires federal permits, you must also submit a copy with your proposal. Lastly, be sure to indicate if you will be working with multiple protected plant species and be sure to clearly state how they will be handled differently if this is the case.

Permit applications are reviewed by committee four times per year. This is typically the first week of the following months: January, April, July, and October. All permit requests will be reviewed in the next review period based on the order they are received in.

CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN is required for:

  • Propagating and/or Offering (Selling/Trading/Bartering/or Exchanging) Protected Plants: No wild collected protected plants (or plant parts) may be offered for sale or trade. Only propagated stock may be sold, traded, or otherwise exchanged, even if for free. Anyone wishing to propagate and/or offer protected plants must acquire CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN for each species. These forms are obtainable through the NCDA&CS nursery inspector ( assigned to your county.

To apply for a CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN, contact the nursery inspector assigned to your county. More information can be found at the Nursery Registration page regarding establishing a commerical operation (i.e. nursery).


  • Any visit to a Plant Conservation Preserve.  Permitted activities include educational tours, research, and land management.

To apply for a PRESERVE ACCESS PERMIT, download the Preserve Access Application Form and email a completed copy to Jennifer Stanley [].


  • Deer hunting permits for the Redlair Plant Conservation Preserve, Gaston County, are available by application. A limit of 25 permits per year may be issued in the order they are requested. Applications are due by February 15th for the upcoming hunting season. Deer hunting permits are non-transferable and will only be issued to applicants who can demonstrate that they have a valid hunting license issued by NC Wildlife Resources Commission for the current year. All North Carolina wildlife rules and regulations must be adhered to on the preserve. Additional conditions may also apply and will be detailed in a permit packet.

To apply for a Redlair Plant Conservation Preserve DEER HUNTING PERMIT, fill out the permit application and the liability release form and email them to [].



For Additional Information Contact:
NC Plant Conservation Program Administrator - Cheryl Gregory
Phone: (919) 707-3760 | FAX: (919) 733-1041

NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division - Plant Protection Section
Division Director - Phillip L. Wilson
Mailing Address: 1060 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1060
Physical Address: 216 West Jones Street, Raleigh NC 27603
Phone: (919) 707-3753 | FAX: (919) 733-1041

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