If you receive a package or envelope of seeds from China that you didn't order. Don't open them and don't even think of planting them.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has received reports from residents that they have received seeds in the mail from China and the surrounding areas. In many cases the packages are labeled as something else like jewelry, bracelets, stud earrings and other accessories.

If you receive a package of seeds from China what should you do? Here's what the Missouri Department of Agriculture says:

  1. Do not open the seed package.
  2. Do not plant the seeds if you have opened the package.
  3. Submit an online report to USDA verifying you have received unsolicited seeds.
  4. Do not dispose of the seeds, packages or envelopes until USDA provides further guidance.

The United States Department of Agriculture believes the unsolicited seeds are a "brushing scam" where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who them posts false customer reviews to boost sales.

So why is the USDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture so interested in the seeds?

According to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, "the full risk associated with the seeds in question is unknown at this time. However, the seeds could be an invasive species that has the potential to destroy native plants and damage crops. Invasive species can also introduce diseases to plants and may be harmful to livestock."

For it's part the USDA says they are, "committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds."

The bottom line, the seeds aren't probably some big conspiracy thing. Just a scam and rather benign at that. Although don't plant the seeds. The last thing you want is Audry II from "Little Shop of Horrors" growing in your garden.