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Man Plants Mystery Seeds from China, Months Later State Department of Agriculture Shows Up

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A Booneville, Arkansas, man has sown the seeds of mild discontent with his state Department of Agriculture.

According to KFSM-TV, local resident Doyle Crenshaw spurred the agency on to intervention last month when he planted mysterious seeds shipped from China in his garden.

Aware of countless such seed shipments arriving on American shores, departments of agriculture nationwide had issued numerous stern warnings against planting the contents of any unsolicited packages from overseas.

Crenshaw, for his part, was not in the know when he first received his surprise seed shipment — and he decided to experiment.

“The package said it was from China and said ‘studded earrings’ on the outside, and we thought that was a little odd,” Crenshaw said.

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“We brought them down here and planted the seeds just to see what would happen, every two weeks I’d come by and put miracle grow on it and they just started growing like crazy.”

The resulting plant reportedly carries orange flowers and produces large white fruit, like a squash vine.

Unable to determine with certainty what it is, however, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture has decided to remove any sign of the plant from Crenshaw’s yard, particularly as experts express concern it may be or bring about an invasive species.

Would you have planted the Chinese mystery seeds?

“Our concern is from an invasive pest aspect, these seeds could introduce an invasive weed, or an invasive insect pest or a plant disease,” agency official Scott Bray said.

An invasive species is any non-native organism that is not incorporated into an ecosystem without harming it, according to the National Wildlife Foundation.

“The direct threats of invasive species include preying on native species, outcompeting native species for food or other resources, causing or carrying disease, and preventing native species from reproducing or killing a native species’ young,” the organization says.

The consequences often cascade throughout the ecosystem as well, injuring other species indirectly and often disrupting any local economy or agricultural endeavor that benefits from the natural ecosystem.

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Concerns regarding natural dangers from abroad remain all the more pressing in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in China.

Many U.S. legislators and intelligence officials have voiced opinions that the Chinese Communist Party was so negligent, self-serving and even potentially malicious in its handling of the virus that it is responsible for the deadly state of affairs across the globe.

As a result, unsolicited seed packages from China were treated with extra scrutiny when they first began arriving stateside last month.

Hundreds of households in at least 27 states have received the mysterious seed packages since, The New York Times reported.

The seeds within rarely seem to be the same from package to package, and often come in plastic bags bearing Chinese characters, the promise of jewelry within or simply the words “China Post.”

Fearing not only the prospect of invasive species but the potential for dangerous plant pathogens or other national security threats to be found in the packages, the U.S. Department of Agriculture initially teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the matter and warn Americans against opening the packages.

“USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation,” the agency wrote on its website.

“USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions,” it added.

“Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.”

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Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He has since covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal, and now focuses his reporting on Congress and the national campaign trail. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.




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