Jason Koebler, VICE- Motherboard - Those mysterious seeds from China

Jason Koebler, VICE
Those mysterious seeds from China


Raise your hand if you ever heard your mother say, probably in a voice filled with maternal alarm, “Don’t put that thing in your mouth! You don’t know where it’s from.”

Well, did you drop that candy, or was it a marble?  Or did you disobey?

Defying Mom, or your government, or common sense seems to be a pretty common trait among Americans these days.

Take for example, mysterious packets of seeds that started arriving in the mail across all 50 states and not a few territories back in July.  What were they?

Many things.  Among thousands of packages recipients found seeds for lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomato, and radish, as well as peppergrass, alfalfa, and corn;  amaranth, rose, False Horse Balm, Lespedeza and Sweet Potato.  Here in New Mexico some “noxious weeds” turned up in the packets, the kind people are banned from planting, like oxeye daisy, hollyhock, hedge bindweed and spearmint.

Who knew some states ban spearmint? Could Juicy Fruit be next?

We also now know the answer to another basic question – where did they come from? Again, the answer is many different place, 44 different countries, although many of the packages came marked in characters that looked Chinese.

As soon as it became apparent through media reports that it was raining packets from – well, not Heaven, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and many state Ag Dept’s roared in a single loud voice – don’t open those packets! Don’t plant those seeds! Please send them in to us for analysis.

And thousands of Americans did. As you might expect, given that back in July, America was in a state of high anxiety about the Coronavirus pandemic, the disease our president was calling “the China flu.”

But not everyone heeded the warning. Many opened the packets, some planted the seeds, some even ate a few.

And … so far … hold your breath … nothing.  Or at least nothing definably dangerous. End of story?  I hope not, because Jason Koebler, who did what even he calls an obsessive job of tracking the seed packs and their fates for Vice News’ Motherboard Tech News platform, has turned up lots more questions for which answers are still lacking.  None of which is the two I thought of – you really ate those seeds? What are you, out of your mind?













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