Americans in all fifty states have been receiving unsolicited packets of mystery seeds from China this summer.
U.S. residents in every state were sent packages originating from China that were full of seeds sealed in plastic pouches and occasionally marked as jewelry.
Agriculture officials immediately issued a warning urging recipients to refrain from planting the seeds and instructions on how to send them in for analysis. The USDA is concerned that the resulting plants could be an invasive species, or cause disease in native vegetation.
Though the source behind the seeds has not been discovered, authorities believe the packages could be part of a “brushing scam,” where a sender ships out goods that the recipient didn’t order and writes fake customer reviews with their name to amp website sales.
One man planted the seeds before he got the warning. The resulting plant sprouted orange flowers and white fruit resembling squash.
As it turns out, the seeds were not a Chinese plan to subvert American agriculture… They were just ingredients that are commonly used in U.S. kitchens.
All the plant species identified by researchers so far turned out to be edible like cabbage and mustard. Herbs that were categorized include frequently used ingredients like sage and rosemary. Packets also contained seeds for rose and hibiscus plants.
While the species of edible plants already identified seem to be harmless, authorities are still urging recipients to refrain from planting and turn them over to authorities.