Since we posted this warning about unsolicited seeds, an article in the Wall Street Journal published today (July 30th) has an update. According to their article https://www.wsj.com/articles/mystery-seeds-spread-around-the-world-11596119184, the seeds have originated from several countries and have been distributed worldwide.
And the Oregon Department of Agriculture requests recipients forward the seeds to them for examination:
Anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds from China should immediately contact their state department of agriculture or the APHIS state plant health director and follow these steps:
- Save the seeds and the package they came in, including the mailing label.
- Do not open the seed packets.
- Do not plant any of the seeds.
- If the packets are already opened, place all materials (seeds and packaging) into a zip lock bag and seal it.
- If the seeds have been planted, leave the seeds/plants in the ground until you receive further instruction from your state department of agriculture or APHIS.
In Oregon, if you have received a package of seeds that you did not order, please include the packaging that includes the return address and send the shipment to:
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Plant Protection and Conservation
635 Capitol Street NE, Suite 100
Salem, Oregon 97301
If you have already opened the seed package, please place the entire package in a plastic bag and seal it and then send it to ODA. Do not plant any of the seeds. If you already planted the seeds, please contact Dr. Helmuth Rogg, ODA Plant Programs Director at 503-986-4662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To reach APHIS please call 1-844-820-2234 or email CustomerServiceCallCenter@
If you are on Facebook you have probably seen this notice several times: an item is ordered and shipped from overseas and when the recipient opens the package, finds a package or two of unknown seeds. The district received its first call about this today from a local artist who ordered jewelry components. She wisely asked us what to do.
First, DO NOT OPEN THE PACKAGE(S). We don’t know if the seeds have been coated with anything and it’s best to be safe.
DO NOT PLANT THE SEEDS. They may be harmless…or they may be the next invasive that pushes out native plants, causes a wildfire hazard, or kills livestock.