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Buying seed from overseas

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Julie starts with ...
I want to buy some flower seeds from the US on eBay. They are (supposedly) a perennial form of Lobelia, which I usually grow as an annual.

Is it worth trying? No reason the seed can't be imported as far as I know. Any tips as to how to go about it and not have the seeds impounded?
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Julie
Roleystone WA
15th May 2014 11:57am
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MaryT says...
Julie I've posted seeds back from the US and most of them were taken but I've bought seeds online from the US and the UK and 100% of them arrived. It may be luck; I don't know but worth trying if it's something you really want.
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MaryT
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15th May 2014 1:22pm
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jakfruit etiquette says...
You should start with checking the list of permitted imports, to make sure its allowed, then the packet labelling, the seed correctly labelled with permitted Genus + species, not just common name.
( You may need to ask for seller to label correctly, or send labels to them)
Any non seed plant matter, or other species seed included in the pkt may be used as reason to confiscate.
Commercial pkts maybe better regarded than home made pkts from fellow gardeners.
Thats info for dried seed.
Anybody want to add to this,
and also tell about importing fresh seed in moist conditions ??
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jakfruit etiquette
vic
15th May 2014 4:29pm
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Mike X says...
Check on aquis icon to see if the seeds are permitted. Sender to label the cliplock bag with scientific name and only use shredded paper, vermiculite or perlite packing inside but dry or clean moist seeds are ok.
Brazil you will then get around 75% through,US 90%,Thailand 90%,Taiwan 90%,Portugal 95%,Mexico 60%,Uganda 80%,PNG 90%.I am extrapolating from places I have received over 5 parcels with seeds from.
Some parcels are seized over minor spelling errors,packing issues,identity disputes and sometimes for little reason at all.
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Mike X
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15th May 2014 5:38pm
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sternus1 says...
If you want to have mixed success and do the right thing, follow Jackfruit's instructions.If you want to win, this, of which I am not the original Author,the narrative first person perspective being someone other than myself, might be of help:


Part 1: There is a proverb: At night, all cats are grey.


A) Check the ICON list of banned species. If your seeds are on this, you need to do two things:

A) First, find something on the list that isn't banned and looks remarkably similar to the seeds you're trying to import which are banned. Use google images and a bit of common sense.

B) have the seller relabel the seeds as the item that isn't banned. Instruct the seller to label in black magic marker the genus and common name on the actual snap lock bag the seeds are contained in only. Always double bag.


Part 2:

Now, the next step concerns labeling the outside of the package at the seller's end. Simply, you don't want them doing it. Now, you might be tempted to start down the path of analogies--this is a mistake. Basically, what I mean is something like asking the seller to label the package as something other than seeds (for example, beads, or if the commodity itself is not seeds, say cuttings for example, as 'bike parts').

There are two problems with this:

A) There are a range of items and commodities which are banned from import which are not listed by quarantine--many of these are seemingly benign, things that wouldn't occur to you to be banned at all. In order not to climb out of the frying pan and into the fire, you'd need to know what they all are,and you'll never be one of those people. I promise. The charade of mislabelling contents can end in the inadvertent opening of a package, parcel or envelope. This compounded by the conceptual nature of words--what exactly are 'bike parts'?



B) The second problem with this is that you run into the trap of arousing the suspicions of the hard working customs team on the ground. Now, although none of them are going to be poirot or miss marple, they're no slouches either, and it is important not to underestimate the tactile competence. If something doesn't feel, by weight, shape, dimension, sound, etc as is stipulated on the contents of the label, they're going to notice.

C) The way around this is simple: Have the seller not label the outside of the package whatsoever with anything other than your name and address. Make the package as small as possible, and as well sealed as possible. It is surprisingly important that your name and address is spelled clearly and correctly--if it isn't this will incur greater handling and consequently greater and careful inspection. Ideally, the package would be printed with an actual labeling machine.

Part 3: Knowing the hands shaken most gladly:

a) Regional and jurisdictional factors will play a very large role in the probability of your parcel or package being inspected. Simply, items from some countries are incredibly likely to be inspected, whereas others are very unlikely to be inspected. From order of least likely to most likely, these are (not including enbargoed nations)

1. US
2. Uk, France, Italy.
3. The rest of the EU (not including spain) and China, including Greece
4.Israel/spain/Mexico/portugal
5.South America

As such, if you can source whatever you want from the US or Uk especially, you will stand a much better chance of success.

Part 4: The genius of the crowd:

Holidays are the best time to import things, for the simple reason of traffic. Ground staff have a lot more work to do and a lot less time to do it in--and a lot less time, or inclination to care. Consequently, the month leading up to Christmas is, in terms of importing, the best of times and the worst of times--the best for you, the worst for customs.

Part 5: The Dark matter of Ignorantia juris non excusat:

Ignorance of the law does not excuse anyone, unless you're dealing with the quarantine act, in which case, you're probably going to avoid sodomy and the lash without too much difficulty if your item (s) are found and seized. There has only been, in fact, one case of severe punishment doling under the qurantine act, which was a hefty fine dispensed to an importer of literally tonnes of plant material in a shipping container. Mostly, this is owing to the fact that the guidelines for importation, and especially in the instance of seeds, are vague and nonspecific in many instances. Secondly, dragging Mr Jones before the magistrate for having imported a fig cutting is a monumental waste of time, money and effort. Simply, this will not happen.This is just not how the world works.

What is far more likely, in fact almost a certainty, is that you will receive a letter telling you to cease and desist.Perhaps you will incur a charge for the destruction of said items.

What is important is to not display vulgar intent. You are not a smuggler; you are an hobbyist gardener new to ebay who inadvertently purchased a species which is banned from importation. However, this is something difficult to sell if what you attempted to import was contained in the false bottom of a fake can of shaving cream.

Accept the entire process as a lottery. There is no way to legislate against the power of fortuna.









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sternus1
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15th May 2014 6:07pm
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Original Post was last edited: 15th May 2014 6:06pm
Julie says...
Thanks everyone who answered. I'll look up Lobelia and see what they say.

Edit: according to Aquis, nothing is actually permitted, everything - and I mean everything - is 'conditional'. I don't know what to make of that. I couldn't find an email address to send a question, so I suppose I'll have to call.
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Julie
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15th May 2014 8:51pm
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Original Post was last edited: 15th May 2014 8:53pm
MaryT says...
Julie, years ago when I was making enquiries about Australia's immigration policy (from Hong Kong), I was told that they don't have policies, only 'directives' and they can change without notice. Looks like that applies to seeds and plants as well.
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MaryT
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16th May 2014 5:35am
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BJ says...
Icon lists 9 species of lobelia as being prohibited entry. About 30 are on the permitted list. I'm sure the one you want to import is listed in the table of permitted species, even if it isn't... ;)

I received a batch of seeds from Brazil today. All completely legal to import. However the package wasn't examined, so really anything could have been in there...

Whatever you do, make sure the species name is written on the seed packet in big letters so the quarantine service people don't have to rip it open...
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Theposterformerlyknownas
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16th May 2014 9:00pm
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Julie says...
OK, I've ordered them. Fingers crossed they turn up unharmed. I'll keep you posted - the only time I ordered seed from overseas was Neem seed from India, which was confiscated.
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Julie
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17th May 2014 8:08pm
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Mike X says...
Look at Table 1 in icon and the G7100 code is what you want for easy passage into Australia.
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Mike X
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17th May 2014 8:19pm
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Julie says...
My Lobelia seeds were delivered in less than two weeks. I asked the seller to write the name clearly on the package, but she sent them in a plain white envelope as the seeds were so tiny.

It's given me confidence to try again some time when I see something I fancy.
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Julie
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2nd June 2014 6:34pm
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MaryT says...
Good to hear of your success, Julie. I have also encountered no problems buying seeds online from the US. I did however had most seeds confiscated when I sent seeds to myself from the US so it seems they are more lenient when the seeds are sent by seed companies. Or maybe it was just fluke.
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MaryT
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3rd June 2014 11:17am
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JohnMc1 says...
I wasn't sure on Monk Fruit seeds but as it happened, quarantine opened and inspected the parcel and let it through.
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John Mc
Warnervale NSW
3rd June 2014 4:33pm
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Julie says...
Why was my post deleted? I hope it was just a mistake.

Mary, it's hard to say, but this wasn't marked as being from a seed company. Just tiny seeds between two sheets of paper, like a letter. Seems it's the luck of the draw.
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Julie
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3rd June 2014 7:56pm
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Carl76 says...
So true, luck is always a factor , even if seeds are allowed.
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Carl76
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3rd June 2014 8:05pm
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Mike Tr says...
Today I received seeds bigger than baseballs from brazil and they passed inspection, yesterday another big Brazilian parcel that may be considered controversial also passed inspection. On Tuesday an inspected parcel from Taiwan was also unscathed. It is like a triple eclipse of the planets and will never happen again.
Maybe DAFF's addiction to handing out unnecessary pain is waning.
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Mike Tr
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MaryT says...
Maybe they've all been sacked to cut cost, Mike :) I know so many people still waiting to hear if they have a job after June 30; the government is taking its time handing down their decisions re funding.
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MaryT
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5th June 2014 9:43pm
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Mike Tr says...
Newman is doing to Queensland what Abbott is doing to Australia. The university students, elderly, special needs people and public servants should join the army, become a priest, get employment with mining or big business or just get wealthy. If this mob did exactly the opposite of all their ideas things would be better.
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Mike Tr
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ivepeters says...
Just glad my Plinia edulis got through, got Maprang 'Wan' through on second attempt. Someone must've wanted first batch for their own.
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ivepeters
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5th June 2014 11:29pm
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Mike Tr says...
I have a few cambucas planted out now and a few seedlings of Plinia rivularis in pots.All jaboticabas will go to the genus Plinia.
Good luck with the maprang they are very slow and you don't want to wait 10 years and find they did a switcheroo with mayon chid. I have a wan and thought it was the only one about.
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Mike Tr
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5th June 2014 11:57pm
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ivepeters says...
Got a couple of seeds of the Mayong Chid Big Variety and Kai variety, from a friend, I'll see how good a friend in 10 yrs then.
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ivepeters
CARINDALE,4152,QLD
6th June 2014 12:12am
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BJ says...
I received an unsolicited parcel of seeds that may be deemed invisible in terms of the white list. Fully labelled and all. Just tempting the customs folks. The package was untouched. No big surprise, customs are falling apart and biosecurity is too big a word for any of the Libs in power, so its now just a crap shoot free for all, it seems.
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Theposterformerlyknownas
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6th June 2014 8:52am
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sternus1 says...
ive drop me an email I can't find you in my contact list.


s
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sternus1
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6th June 2014 9:25am
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ivepeters says...
I think they are just going through the motions currently, with the proposed amalgamation in the air, just enough to put in a quarantine leaflet in the package.
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ivepeters
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6th June 2014 10:50am
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Mike Tr says...
When the cat is away, is it the mice or rats that play? If they are asleep at the wheel it might be a good time to pursue exotic fruits from exotic place dreams.
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Mike Tr
Cairns
6th June 2014 12:31pm
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ivepeters says...
But it will still be a gamble, but maybe with better odds.
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ivepeters
CARINDALE,4152,QLD
6th June 2014 1:34pm
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Mike Tr says...
I lost another parcel today and this one was from India. Customs seized and destroyed the seeds and I got an empty parcel with their letter. The permitted seeds were destroyed due to being packed in soil and it was noted the seeds had sprouted.
Pearlite and vermiculite are permitted for packing. It is a bit insulting as I studied soil at uni and know what soil is.Someone who probably failed sandbox at kindy has declared vermiculite is soil.If seeds sprouting was an ancillary reason for destruction it was because Customs dragged their sorry backsides for so long the resulting plants were almost of bearing age.I am not impressed with their F troop approach to biosecurity.
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Mike Tr
Cairns
25th June 2014 8:06pm
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Mike Tr says...
Either the Einsteins in Customs can't tell vermiculite from soil or they pulled a pincer manouvre once again.That is advise to use vermiculite and then pounce when it is used.It is hard to battle against seeds sprouting while in their custody as they move at the speed of continental drift.Automatically destroying the evidence and not offering an appeal has become standard fair for this Keystone Kops outfit.For an outfit big on rules they should not be so baffled and unable to follow their own rules.
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Mike Tr
Cairns
26th June 2014 7:17am
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denise1 says...
I would suggest you pay more for insured or express mail and it will usually get priority treatment and better chance of getting through in a timely manner.
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denise1
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26th June 2014 8:08am
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Mike Tr says...
denise 1 they were express mail and if insured and express the bungling is heightened not diminished.Officers pocketed the contents on the basis of the vermiculite being soil and the finest minds in DAFF routinely bungle in this regard.The level of intellectual firepower DAFF bring to the table on this matter is frightening.
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Mike Tr
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26th June 2014 10:05am
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Boris Spasky says...
Pictures - Click to enlarge

Picture: 1
  
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Boris Spasky

26th June 2014 10:16am
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Mike Tr says...
Yes B.S. if you tried to bring in a violin it would be declared as soil also.
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Mike Tr
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26th June 2014 10:22am
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