Mashable reported in 2019 on the third-party sellers peddling seeds for fantastical, non-existent plants and produce like blue strawberries and rainbow bonsai trees. is a global, multi-platform media and entertainment company.
The report notes that it is believed the mystery mailings are part of a "brushing" scam, which aims to artificially inflate a seller’s visibility on algorithm-driven ecommerce websites like Amazon.
The site’s "plant and seed products" rules page for sellers does indeed note that seeds imported from outside the U. S. are no prohibited, along with those sold by non-U. S. residents.
The online retail giant confirmed in a Saturday report from the Wall Street Journal that U. S. customers are no longer allowed to import foreign seeds or plants.
Case in point: The USDA’s investigation of the mystery packages turned up a number of "noxious" weeds (dodder and water spinach).
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The only catch to that concerns non-U. S. residents: If you sell seeds or plants outside the U. S. , you can’t come into the country just to sell them inside the country.
The policy change, instated on Sept. 3, comes after "thousands" of seed packets were delivered to U. S. mailboxes over the summer, with many postmarked from China.
The move follows a mysterious spate of seed deliveries over the summer, in the U.S. and beyond. https://t.co/H87qqTOZ0G— Mashable (@mashable) September 6, 2020
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