Ky. woman mistakenly planted seeds from China, and this is what happened

LOGAN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) - A Kentucky woman said she received seeds in June and believed they were from her planting club, so she planted them.

“I didn’t realize it was a thing until I saw it on the news,” Tiffany Lowery said.

The image she shared shows seeds and a package with Chinese postage, similar to what has been shared by news outlets and officials across the country.

A woman shared a photo of what sprouted when she mistakenly planted the seeds she received from China in June.
A woman shared a photo of what sprouted when she mistakenly planted the seeds she received from China in June. (Source: Tiffany Lowery/WBKO)

She planted them, and a plant sprouted in a pot near her house.

“I planted them not realizing it was a bad thing. I was in a gift giving group on Facebook and thought it was from one of the members.”

Lowery said once she realized the seeds were not to be planted, she contacted the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. According to Lowery, KDA told her to either burn the plant or double bag it and throw it in the trash. She tried to burn the plant, but said it was difficult, so has triple bagged it but has not thrown it in the trash yet.

KDA has released a statement regarding guidance on what to do with plants that have sprouted from the seeds. The department is still waiting on advisement from the USDA-APHIS on the matter.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we reached out again to USDA-APHIS for further guidance on what to do with plant material,” said Sean Southard, Director of Communications for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

“We encourage all those who have received unsolicited seeds to bag the seeds and send them to USDA-APHIS Plant Protection Quarantine in Hebron, Kentucky. We have been in communication with USDA-APHIS and they continue to investigate this matter. We expect further guidance soon from USDA and once we have that, we will certainly communicate it to the public,” explained Southard.

The USDA said it is aware people received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seeds that appear come from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and state departments of agriculture to investigate the situation, it said.

The agency urged anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact a state plant regulatory official or APHIS state plant health director. It asked people not to plant them but hold on to the seeds and any packaging until they are contacted back with instructions.

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