Part of the mystery around the unsolicited packets of seeds US residents are receiving from China has been solved.
A US Department of Agriculture official said in a recorded statement released on July 29 that 14 species of the seeds have been identified as herbs and other plants including hibiscus and mint.
“We have identified 14 different species of seeds, including mustard, cabbage, morning glory, and some of the herbs like mint, sage, rosemary, lavender, then other seeds like hibiscus and roses,” said Osama El-Lissy, a deputy administrator for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
“This is just a subset of the samples we have collected so far,” he said.
Since late July, people across the US and in countries including Canada and the United Kingdom have reported receiving packets of seeds they did not order, and are marked as coming from China.
Some of the packages’ labels indicate that the packages contain jewelry, though US state officials say they are mislabeled since they actually contain small packets of seeds.
All 50 US states have now issued warnings against planting the seeds, according to a July 29 report from CNN, and have been instructed in many instances to instead contact state or local authorities.
“People who receive seeds should not plant or handle the seeds,” Richard Ball, the New York State Commissioner of Agriculture, said in a July 27 statement.