As well as creating reserves, the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (SA) also provides for the protection of native flora (everything from trees to wildflowers) within reserves and native fauna (animals) occurring inside and outside reserves. The Act contains schedules of protected and unprotected animals as well as lists of species regarded as rare, vulnerable or endangered.

A person who takes protected flora from a reserve, Crown land, a public reserve including a street or road or a forest reserve, may be fined up to $10 000 or jailed for two years in the case of native plants of endangered species [see s 47]. The same penalties apply for the taking of prescribed species of native plants from private land. A person may take non-prescribed species from private land with the consent of the owner, however such plants may also be covered by the Native Vegetation Act 1991 (SA), which prohibits destroying or harming native vegetation outside the Adelaide Metropolitan area. The penalty for taking plants without consent is $1 000 [s 47(4)].

The Minister may grant a permit authorising the taking, sale and giving away of native plants with conditions specified. In the absence of such a permit it is an offence for a person to sell or give away native plants or prescribed species unless the plant was taken by the holder of the licence issued under the Forestry Act 1950 (SA). The maximum penalty is $10 000 or imprisonment for two years in the case of a plant of an endangered species. The same penalties apply to the offence of possessing a native plant that has been illegally taken or acquired [see ss 48 and 48A].