Some of the mystery seeds from China which have been dropping through letterboxes could spark an infestation and “wreak havoc” warn officials.
People across the UK, the US and beyond have been receiving mysterious packets of seeds labelled as jewellery, with the Mirror receiving numerous emails from concerned Brits since first reporting the curiosity.
Now, bigwigs in the US state of Virginia have warned that the seeds could be invasive species and could “wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops.”
Speaking to News9, agriculture officials said: “Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops.
Have you received the seeds? Email [email protected]
“Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.”
And, in a terrifying warning given the current global context, the Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller warned the seeds “could be a bacteria”.
He told CBS DFW: “It could be another virus, some kind of invasive species.”
The US Department of Agriculture is understood to have identified some of the species of plant contained in seed bags being received by Americans.
Amid warnings that the seeds could contain invasive species, the deputy administrator Osama El-Lissy of the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported that the seeds included –
– morning glory
Also herbs like –
El-Lissy reported at least 14 of the seed species had been identified as of July 29.
One Mirror Online reader told us: “I was given some of these by a friend, so I sowed them and they have come up beautifully and flowered.
“They seem to be courgettes or marrows and I have about six healthy plants in large pots.”
For context, the Commonwealth nation of Australia is famously obsessive about blocking invasive species of plants, animals and bacteria from disrupting the balanced ecology of the country.
An example of an invasive species of plant which has wreaked havoc in the UK would be Japanese knotweed, which can damage concrete foundations, buildings, flood defences, roads, paving, retaining walls and architectural sites.
Meanwhile, grey squirrels are a notorious invasive species of animal, which has decimated Britain’s native population of red squirrels.
People around the globe are receiving the strange packets of seeds in the post without any explanation as to who they come from or why they’ve been sent.
All that is known is the parcels come from China and people in the US and UK have reported receiving them totally out of the blue.
There was explanation as to why people were getting these packages but they usually have Chinese writing on and are labelled as containing jewellery, possibly to avoid security checks.
All 50 states in the US have sent out warnings against them in case they are dangerous. The problem has been quite prolific, with 630 reports in Florida alone.
People are being warned not to plant the seeds, as those from from other parts of the world could damage local crops.
Robin Pruisner of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in Iowa, said she had received reports of seeds coated in a potential insecticide or fungicide.
She said: “I’ve had people describe to me that the seeds are coated with something purple. I haven’t had it in my hands yet, but it sounds an awful lot like a seed treatment.”
A Mirror Online reader told us: “I, a few days ago, received a similar packet. This made me think, particularly the description, ‘Stud earring’.
“Putting my thinking cap on I remembered I had ordered many months ago – ‘white button mushroom seeds’ – by which I presume they meant mushroom spawn from an Amazon UK seller.
“I had completely forgotten the order until this package arrived, obviously labelled ‘Stud earring’ to get through Customs. In the circumstances I will not chance planting the seeds but will put them on the fire.”
In the US, the Iowa Agriculture Department has told the public the mysterious packages are likely part of a “brushing” scam.
This involves a seller sending products which to people who have not requested them
The seller then places fake customer reviews onto buying sites, such as Amazon, in order to drive sales.
The US Department of Agriculture said: “Brushing scams involving seed packets in international mail shipments are not uncommon.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection has intercepted similar seed shipments in recent years.”
Meanwhile, Phylissia Clark of the Better Business Bureau told CBS DFW that victims of ‘brushing’ that their “identity has been compromised.”
She said: “Somebody knows enough about you to create a profile online and use you to manipulate systems.”
At a rough count, at least 100 households in England have received the packages which have turned up in several European countries.
A news briefing in China heard from Wang Wenbin of the country’s foreign ministry, who claimed China has restrictions on mailing seeds of any kind.
He claimed address labels on the parcels had been investigated and it was found that they were forged.
If you receive a mysterious package like the one described, you should email –