(JustPatriots.com)- Do you remember that story about people all over the United States receiving mysterious packets of seeds from China? It hit international headlines because of how spooky and bizarre it seemed, with many speculating that the Chinese government (or extremists from within the country) were hoping Americans would plant the seeds and potentially spread some new kind of disease.
The United States Department of Agriculture suggested that the packages might have been a “brushing scam” whereby online retailers in China send out fake packages to boost their own businesses and make it appear like they have more customers than they really do. Regardless, the USDA is taking swift action to destroy the seeds where possible and even destroyed a plant grown by one man in Arkansas.
The American man reportedly planted the mysterious seeds that arrived and grew a plant. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture said that after an unofficial identification of the plants took place, the plant was identified as a “Wax Gourd” or a Benincasa Hispida. It’s also known as a “Chinese Watermelon” and was identified by the white fruits growing from the plant and orange blossoms. It’s a plant native to South Asia and not commonly seen in the United States.
It seems most likely that the sending of seeds to customers across the world was just a scam, but out of an “abundance of caution” the plant was incinerated, the Arkansas Agriculture Department said.
“After further discussion with our USDA partners we will be transferring plant material collected in the future to them for official identification,” Anna Thrash, the Public Information Manager for the Arkansas department said.
More than 9,000 American households reported receiving unsolicited seeds in the mail, and the USDA warned Americans not to plant them.
#News Update: As of Aug. 11, #APHIS has received 9,300+ emails and answered ~600 calls from citizens reporting unsolicited seed packages or seeking related information. To date, we have collected 1,333 packages of seeds for APHIS’ inspection. pic.twitter.com/EvfHMZHHCP
— USDA APHIS (@USDA_APHIS) August 11, 2020
The USDA continues their investigation into the incident and is working with a number of organizations to find out precisely what happened. The Chinese postal services are also reportedly helping with that investigation, but the COVID-19 outbreak showed us how unwilling Chinese authorities can be to help when it comes to investigations.