The Clemson University Department of Plant Industry (DPI) and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) has recently been made aware that several South Carolina residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China. The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species or could harbor a plant disease. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them. Per USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), it appears that the shipment of seed packets is a “brushing scam” where sellers send unsolicited items to unsuspecting consumers and then post false reviews to boost sales.
DPI is working closely with USDA APHIS and will have a collection and/or destruction program setup in the coming days. Until that program is available, DPI urges South Carolina's residents that have received unsolicited seeds in the mail appearing to be from China, to store the seeds safely inside a zip top bag and to not plant or handle the seeds. Please use the following form to submit all inquiries to the Department of Plant Industry's Invasive Species office. Someone will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours with additional guidance on the collection and/or destruction program. New information will be posted as soon as it is available.