Worms and Flowers

Citrus Seed Warning

Posted in Seeds by Lzyjo on December 26, 2008

A USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Investigator visited me today. This is no undue privilege, as I purchased Key Lime seeds from an unlicensed seller on eBay back in October of 2007. Luckily I had a heads up, because I read a post on GardenWeb where someone’s citrus plant was quarantined because purchased it from Florida where a canker outbreak was discovered within a certain mile radius.

The investigator insisted I purchased the seeds at 8:30 P.M., on March 30, 2008, but my own records indicate it was in the beginning of October 2007. The investigator had the seller’s eBay handle and all the purchase data, including the exact date and time. The buyers are not at fault, the investigator made this abundantly clear, but it didn’t help to relieve the stress. The seller will be fined for not having the proper permits and no one has to go to jail, especially not the buyers.

I paid $3.00 for six key lime seeds and I had ONE, four inch seedling, just beginning to grow thorns. The seller, who shall remain nameless, has over 6,000 feedback for trinkets and seeds, which appear to be grown in their backyard. I had no idea that citrus sellers are required to have specific paperwork and permits to legally ship seeds out of state. From now on whenever I buy anything citrus, I shall inquire about the seller’s paperwork and permits to ensure they are fully certified.

Clearly the entire situation causes a cascade of wasteful spending, from a $3.00 packet of seeds, to a government investigator driving through the countryside, trying to find me and everyone else who purchased a $3.00 pack of Key Lime seeds, during a gas crisis where people are having fist-fights at the pumps.

I gladly handed over the two remaining seeds and the small seedling, anything to exculpate myself and discourage another visit from the USDA investigators. All in all, it was a fair conclusion to an extremely tense situation, now I just need to go garden and calm down for the rest of the day.

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