The Q&A Archives: Importation Of Plant Materials

Question: I travel several times a year to Europe and I am interested in bringing back seeds and plants from the wild, friends yards, or garden centers which I cannot find in the United States.

I heard that a person can bring up to ten plants or seeds into the country without having a permit provided the live plants are cleaned of all soil. Is this true? What do I need to do for customs to bring back seeds and plants that I've collected?

Answer: I would suggest you verify restrictions directly with the authorities involved. The USDA provides some basic information about travelers importing plant material at their web site and you may email them further questions from there. The more specific "Guide to Shipping Foreign Plants Home" begins to explain the how's and why's and provides specific contact information as well as some commonly encountered examples. See that at Additional requests for information should be sent to:
4700 River Road, Unit 136
Riverdale, MD 20737-1236
Telephone (301) 734-8645
Telefax (301) 734-5786

Enjoy your travels!

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