Unsolicited seeds from China that have arrived in Colorado mailboxes could pose an environmental threat, the state Department of Agriculture warned Tuesday.
The seeds, labeled as jewelry or other items, may be an invasive species that could choke out local plants, harm livestock, and endanger wildlife, the department said. Although it is not clear what type of seeds they are yet.
The seeds have been sent across the country. Some of the recipients ordered other seeds from Amazon but did not receive what they ordered, Mary Peck a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture told The Gazette in an email.
The federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, and state departments of agriculture are working together to catch the seeds before they are planted.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture advised people who receive packages to keep the seeds in their original packaging with the mailing label, and contact the agency. Officials said residents shouldn't plant the seeds or throw them in the trash since they could sprout in land fills.
If you receive an unsolicited package of seeds, contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s hotline dedicated to the incident at 303-869-9081 or email email@example.com.
The seeds have prompted warnings in 27 states and kicked off a federal investigation, the Associated Press reported.
Colorado is already at war with one invasive plant from China. Chinese clematis, a climbing vine is classified as a noxious weed here, which state officials are seeking to eradicate.
In Colorado Springs, one Chinese import can be found on most streets. The Chinese elm tree was brought to the city shortly after its founding because it can grow at high altitudes. It has since spread through the Pikes Peak region.