Mystery seeds sent to Wabash Valley residents

Seeds that are seemingly sent from China have been popping up all over the United States. Even in the Wabash Valley.

Posted: Aug 3, 2020 8:46 PM
Updated: Aug 4, 2020 11:23 AM

PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) --There have been reports all over the country about people getting packets of seeds in the mail. The package appears to be from China. 

No one's buying them, they're just getting them! Now, local officials are trying to decide if it's a scam or something more invasive.

"No no, it's definitely new to me," Justin Cole, Parke County Sheriff said.

Justin Cole is the Sheriff in Parke County. He said his office has gotten multiple calls and messages about these mysterious seeds.

"Here recently we've had a few citizens that have contacted us about unsolicited seeds that were shipped to them appearing to be from China," Cole said.

He said if you get these in the mail you should send them to the State Plant Health Director.

"If you receive them don't open them, don't handle them, don't dispose of them, don't plant them," Cole said. " I don't think anyone knows what they are yet. It could just be an invasive plant species or it could be part of a scam."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA has been working hard to find out what these seeds are. They have identified at least 14 of the plant species from the seeds.

They include things like cabbage, morning glories, mint sage, rosemary, and lavender. The USDA has said hibiscus and roses were also found.

They believe it's part of what's called a brushing scam. That's where a seller sends unsolicited packages and posts fake reviews, using your information, to boost sales. Sheriff Cole said it's par-for-the-course for the year.

"With everything going on, it's just I guess, it's one more thing," Cole said.

Even though the species identified so far are harmless, plant experts said seeds from other parts of the world could still damage local crops. They ask that you still not plant them and send them into the state plant health director.

You can find more information on Indiana's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, here.

If you are in Illinois, you can find more information, here.

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