Farm, Garden and The Land > Gardening and Agriculture

Do not plant mysterious seeds from China

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As if releasing COVID-19 wasn't bad enough, apparently the Chinese government is now spreading invasive plants from its agriculture labs to "wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops" in the United States.
States are warning people about suspicious packages of seeds that appear to be from China

If you've received a mysterious package of seeds in the mail lately, don't plant them.

Several states are issuing warnings after residents across the nation have reported receiving unsolicited packages that appear to have originated in China. The packages typically have Chinese characters on the label and contain a sealed packet of unknown seeds that some state agriculture departments say could be invasive plant species.

"Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops," the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a news release on July 24.

Also, do not throw them in trash.  That is essentially planting them.  Instead, send to propper authorities.
Mystery Seeds From China Showing Up on Indiana Doorsteps

Don Robison, seed administrator for the Office of the Indiana State Chemist, says if you receive these seeds by mail, do not plant them or throw them away.

“We want to know what the seed is. We want to make sure that nobody plants the seed. It could come diseased, it could be something that is invasive. So, don’t plant it. Don’t just throw it away, which would be the same as planting it, because it would go to a landfill and moisture in the landfill would get it to grow.”

Robison is asking that the seeds be sent to the Indiana State Seed Lab where they will identify the seeds at no cost to the person sending them in.
Again, if you receive the mystery seed, do not plant it or throw it away and do not open the package. The seeds can be sent by mail to the Indiana State Seed Laboratory at the address below.

Indiana State Seed Laboratory
Purdue University
175 S University St
West Lafayette, IN 47907


Wonder how wide spread this is.

Wide spread?

I just received a work e-mail indicating don't touch - call these Colorado numbers - save the wrapping material, etc.

Mr. Bill:
There's been a lot of coverage and official announcements about this, but you get a fuller picture if you read some of the comments.  Lots of people have been getting all sorts of cheap junk from China.  Seeds are usually labeled as jewelry.  One guy got a toy camera, another got a pair of fish (plastic, I think).

This is most likely part of a "get good reviews" scam.  Here's an article from the Better Business Bureau (dated 7/2/20, before the OMGSeeds! panic started):

BBB Tip: Amazon “brushing” scam indicates a serious problem for victims

The seed photos I've seen look like common food items.  They were probably chosen because they would feel like jewelry inside a padded envelope, and so they'd match the customs declaration and other paperwork.

The panic over Chinese invasive seeds is, in my opinion, just something the news media came up with because it's better clickbait than "brushing scam" and takes advantage of the current attitudes towards China.


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