Weird seeds are spreading from China across the world
Nobody knows what the seeds are, but people have been planting them anyway
We’ve all found ourselves in the situation where buying something from an online market place hasn’t turned out to be anywhere near the reality we were expecting. It truly is shocking that the purchase of a medieval castle for £9.99 ends up being some knock-off Lego bricks that don’t even fit together properly; not even a one star review can rectify the trauma.
Now the sphere of never-ending tat being flogged by entrepreneurial optimists has taken a bizarre twist, as people living across the world have reported receiving bags of unrequested seeds in the post. The seeds – which vary in colour and size – purport to originate in China and have been landing on doorsteps seemingly at random.
Because of the apparent scale of the operation, the random nature of the distribution and the number of different seeds involved, the issue is perplexing authorities; however, investigations by the USA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has identified fourteen of the seeds, including sage, mint, rosemary and hibiscus. These don’t appear to be particularly harrowing, but experts have ominously said that they are “just a subset of the samples we have collected so far” – suggesting that far more problematic discoveries could yet be unearthed.
Naturally, official guidance is that the seeds should not be planted and must instead be disposed of – basically, avoid carrying out any crazy thoughts that might be going through your head (they probably won’t create an irresistible meal). But, equally predictably, some people have decided to throw caution to the wind and encourage the seeds to grow regardless.
Doyle Crenshaw, who lives in the US state of Arkansas, popped the mystery specimens into his garden, which resulted in the growth of a plant with orange blossom and a massive white fruit (similar to a squash). Crenshaw commented: “Every two weeks I’d come by and put Miracle Grow on it and they just started growing like crazy.” We can only hope that the budding gardener doesn’t have a sudden desire to become a mad scientist.
Despite the imaginative predictions that the odd packages could be designed to conquer the globe with human-destroying plants, a theory being considered by investigators is that the parcels have been sent out in order to create fake sales for online merchants – known as “brushing” scams. China has denied state involvement in the endeavours and has stated that the sales addresses are forgeries.
UK residents who receive packets of suspicious seeds are encouraged to report the circumstances to email@example.com; people living in America should report similar incidents to ITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.