USDA just showed up at my house - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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USDA just showed up at my house

Seriously. So a very nice officer with the USDA just showed up at my house about a plant I purchased from at etsy seller. limnophila sessiliflora

I didn’t have it anymore (purchased in August and it just didn’t do well)

It was just so bizarre. I asked him how to avoid this in the future and he said just not to purchase plants that native to foreign countries. Uh....aren’t mot aquarium plants?

He’s going to mail me some more info, but just wondered if anyone had ever heard of this happening. It was bizarre.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 08:28 PM
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Several years ago my younger sister, who was an adult and living in our childhood home with our parents, told me that some federal authorities (I don't recall the agency) came to the house and asked if they had an aquarium. She said yes. They asked if they could look at it. She said yes.

Turned out they were looking for some fish (possibly an Asian arowana?) that my sister's estranged husband possibly purchased. He didn't live at my parents' house but must have used their address or something. I really don't know the details. All I know is that all the poor feds saw that day was a 30-gallon tank I proudly purchased with my own money as a teenager (I was in my late 20s when they visited) full of kribs.

Nothing came of the visit.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 08:41 PM
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This should serve as a warning to anyone trying to purchase a plant on the U.S. Noxious Weed List. L. sessiliflora is on the list. It doesn't matter if you purchase it domestically or overseas.

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_hea...s/weedlist.pdf


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 08:46 PM
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Yep. It happens on a frequent basis. APHIS/USDA and their Canadian counterparts are on forums like this (Facebook groups, too) and track sales on Amazon, fleabay, Etsy, et al.

Generally, it happens when buyers/sellers are smuggling plants (typically Bucephalandra) into the country without appropriate phytosanitary certification.

The best way to avoid it? Don't buy from a foreign source unless they have property certification and you have proper certification verified. (That's not free) Buy only from US-based sellers. Or CA-based sellers if you're in CA.

Your Etsy seller was likely outside the US. If that's not the case, it's as @Asteroid suggests.

If they were outside the US and shipped a species considered noxious, you're lucky you didn't receive some sort of fine.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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they are in CA. I had no idea

Bump: I contacted the seller, he still has it up for sale on etsy
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 09:06 PM
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California or Canada?

Regardless, they're not going to have a fun week. If they show up to a buyer's home, you can bet the seller is not going to get off with just a warning.

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Originally Posted by tracyree View Post
they are in CA. I had no idea

Bump: I contacted the seller, he still has it up for sale on etsy
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
California or Canada?

Regardless, they're not going to have a fun week. If they show up to a buyer's home, you can bet the seller is not going to get off with just a warning.
California
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
This should serve as a warning to anyone trying to purchase a plant on the U.S. Noxious Weed List. L. sessiliflora is on the list. It doesn't matter if you purchase it domestically or overseas.

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_hea...s/weedlist.pdf
Thanks for sharing this. Perhaps this document could be posted as a sticky on both the WTB/RAOK & For Sale/Trade member forums so people know this? This info isn't generally available--I did most of my plant research on the German flowgrow.de website, so had no way of knowing that the H Sunset I bought from a seller in Nebraska was a listed noxious weed until I tried

Jake: do we know if enforcement on the state level is as draconian? I've come across some listed on websites who won't ship to California, but it didn't say until I'd entered my shipping address.

Glad to see they're really going after the plant poachers decimating wild populations of plants like buces....
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 01:12 AM
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Really depends upon region - especially in California. Lots more enforcement in coastal/port areas. Though, some states have stricter regulation and for good reason. Some plants are nightmares once they get hold in the wild. Same goes for aquatic critters.

California and Hawaii are probably the states with the strongest enforcement. But there's a ton in Florida, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.

Most of the sellers that don't ship to California just don't want to familiarize themselves with what's restricted and what's not. They'd rather get upset about it than do a couple simple searches to see what they can't ship to the state.

For USDA/APHIS to show up at OP's home suggests that the seller has been problematic for the agency for a while.


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 07:02 AM
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Not wanting noxious weeds myself, but if they show at my door they can go pound salt.
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I should be reading the Fertilizers and Water Parameters forum
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 05:20 PM
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Limnophila sessiliflora is also prohibited in Texas:

https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild..._aquatic.phtml
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 05:33 PM
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Limnophila sessiliflora is also prohibited in Texas:

https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild..._aquatic.phtml
It's prohibited anywhere in U.S. It's on the federal list Each state does have it's own list of other prohibited plants.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 06:15 PM
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To avoid this in the future just do a google search on each plant that you order and attach "legality in USA" to the search and see if anything comes up. Or in your case more specifically "legality in California". CA is probably much stricter than other states because of all of our agriculture which are huge industries here. A lot of shops on Etsy for example won't even ship to CA (I found this to be the case with house plants so I specifically had to search for shops already located in California) and from some areas any live plants will require AG inspections. Even from other parts of California. For example I'm on the central coast of CA (between SF and LA) and when we order plants from the Bay area they are inspected for Light Brown Apple moth. When I order from Santa Barbara they are inspected for glassy wing sharp shooters. There is a wholesaler I buy plants from in Santa Barbara and an inspector actually has to come to my house and inspect the plants right after I buy them. So yeah it is serious business here.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 06:28 PM
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If anyone didn't realize it existed, here is a state by state list of prohibited plants:

https://plants.usda.gov/java/noxComposite

I noticed NY, NJ (might be other states too) weren't listed, have no idea why not, but they have banned plants as well


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 08:26 PM
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If the USDA folks showed up at my house I'd tell them they need to remove this foreign noxious plant from my tank called BBA!


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