USDA has identified 14 plant species included in the bags.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it has identified the seeds included in bags (many of which are labeled as jewelry) shipped to random addresses in about 22 states the U.S. from China.
Surprisingly, most of the seeds are common plants and herbs, including mint, rosemary, sage, mustard, cabbage, morning glory, roses, and more. However, anyone who receives these bags of seeds are cautioned not to plant them under any circumstances, according to USDA officials.
The USDA is encouraging recipients to save the seeds and the packaging in which they arrive, and contact their state plant regulatory official. Those officials are usually within the Animal and Plant, Health Inspection Service arm of USDA.
While many have worried there could be nefarious intentions behind the scenes (theories floating around have ranged from invasive species to seeds coated in poison), the real reason behind the seeds could be much less harmful.
It is thought that it's most likely part of an online scam, known as "brushing." Brushing consists of a selling company boosting online sales by purchasing products under fake buyer accounts (which includes your name and address), then shipping them to you. The seller then writes a glowing online review using the fake buyer account. Before you know it, your name could appear on a glowing Amazon review of giant zucchini plants from the company. Let's hope that's all it is.
Unfortunately, despite USDA warnings, reports of people planting the seeds have surfaced. While they may be common species, you never really know what those seeds could contain, including natural pests or diseases that hitched a ride on or within the seeds, so it is still best to follow the USDA's guidance.
Did you receive the seeds in the mail? What did you do with them? Let us know in the comments.