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Did you receive mysterious seed packets from China?

Florida residents have been reporting unsolicited seed packets in the mail. Some have Chinese characters and others have arrived in boxes labeled diamond studs. Florida and many other states are reporting these incoming packages. The mystery is what are these seeds?

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are concerned these seeds are a form of agricultural smuggling and could be an invasive plant. An invasive is any plant or animal that can takeover an area, causing economic loss, ecological damage and even harming human health. Here in Nassau County, UF/IFAS Extension and the City of Fernandina Beach have been removing invasive plant species such as Russian thistle and Mother of Millions on Amelia island.

What To Do: Anyone receiving unsolicited seed packages from other countries should follow these directions:

  • Your local Extension office will accept ONLY opened packages.
  • Bring seed/plant material packets and their original packaging materials to the Extension office, which should then be placed in a plastic zip bag.
  • Fill out form
  • OR you can contact your local FDACS-DPI office or contact the FDACS-DPI helpline at 1-888-397-1517 to arrange for pickup of the packages and leave a message.
  • Additional instructions for the public are available here: http://www.fdacs.gov/seedbymail

When reporting the seed package to FDACS and USDA/APHIS, please be prepared to provide one’s name, physical address, phone number, and email address for contact purposes.

Other Resources

Here is a recent press release from FDACS on the suspicious seed packets.

Here is a news room post from the USDA.

Information on UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants.