Seed Importation

Thu Aug 22 16:55:28 CDT 1996

My name is Bian Tan, Plant Collections Manager at Strybing Arboretum and
Botanical Gardens in San Francisco.  I will be collecting seed in Malaysia
this September for our Asian Cloud Forest collection, and have been exploring
ways of importing seed. I am in need of advice from those of you with
experience in this matter:

One way of importation is to mail the seeds to the US.  Using the USDA
yellow and green mailing labels, the seed arrives at the USDA plant
inspection office, where they are duly processed, then sent back into the
mail.  This is where I've heard there are major problems.  The US postal
service considers the seed package delivered to final destination once the
package arrives at the USDA office.  When the USDA puts the package back into
the postal system after inspection, it very often gets undelivered or lost,
because of the "delivered" designation from the postal service.

Has anyone had this experience?  If so, how can I avoid it?

I will probably bring seed with me in my baggage, which will be inspected
at customs.  I know that if the amount and variety of seed is large, the
officials will treat the shipment as a post-entry case, and the seeds will
need to be taken off site and inspected over a period of 1-2 weeks, which of
course is highly undesirable.  How can I know if the amount I'm carrying
will require post-entry procedures?

I will be arriving in Los Angeles, with a four hour layover, then
connecting to another flight to San Francisco.

I look forward to your feedback.

Bian Tan
btan at

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