The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has become aware of a number of reports regarding “mysterious and unsolicited seeds from China and others parts of Asia.” And now those seed packets have appeared locally, reports Plumas-Sierra Agricultural Commissioner Tim Gibson.
The seed packages, often labeled as jewelry, toys, etc., are being shipped to homeowners throughout the U.S., including Plumas and Sierra counties. The CDFA is communicating with the United States Department of Agriculture to determine any necessary actions for shipments received in California.
In the meantime, Gibson is instructing local residents not to open, plant, or dispose of any unsolicited seed packets received, but to contact his office. Invasive species can devastate the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects, severely damage crops, and poison livestock. Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective way to protect the agricultural industry and the environment.
“We encourage recipients of these seeds to contact our office at (530) 283-6365 for arrangement to collect, isolate, and properly store the seed,” said Gibson. “If you have planted the seeds, please contact our office for additional direction.”
Gibson said that one local resident did plant the seeds, and the dirt and seeds have been dug up and transported to his office.
When asked if there is any speculation in the agricultural community about what the seeds are for, Gibson said some analysis done elsewhere revealed one set of seeds seemed to be a species of mint, while another was a type of flower.