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Is it Illegal to Send Nepenthes Seeds Across Borders?


Formerly known as Pineapple
I've had multiple people message me on eBay asking if I can ship seeds to France, Brazil, etc... And I hate to tell them no, because it's probably very hard to find viable seeds there unless they know other hobbyists. However, I recall reading that it is illegal to ship Nepenthes seeds internationally without proper permits, so I put that at the bottom of my eBay listings. Am I correct, or CAN I in fact ship them overseas?

The only thing I can think of that might change the rule is that they're hybrid seeds coming from a temperate country, so it's not like I'm an illegal poacher in Baguio snatchin' all the seeds up. I know I can likely ship them overseas without "getting caught" because many people do that and nobody ever has a problem, but I know there can be huge fines for that stuff and I don't want to risk it.

Do I need like a CITES permit or something? Because TBH there's no environmental issue with me doing this. It also helps the United State's GDP so... ???
Technically permits are required to ship any plant material overseas. Permits for small lots of seed are required in this case.
CITES has nothing to do with hybrid seed/plant material. You need to contact your local Ag Agent to get specific information about your needs - but yes - some kind of permit is required.
live life to the fullest and break the laws

I expect you are unaware that transgressions in the international trade of restricted materials - including harmless plants and seeds - fall under the jurisdiction of the Homeland Security Department. Yes, its true. Attempting to circumvent the regulations could have far-reaching and genuinely unpleasant consequences, should you get caught. Just as Dean Cook how these things play out.
What happened to Dean Cook?

He imported some restricted plants from Europe and didn't get all the right documents for it, and got caught (The way he tells it, it was an unintentional mishap: he was NOT trying to circumvent the proper protocols - he just missed some important details, IIRC). He had to pay a hefty fine and he also had to do some community service work of some kind. I don't recall all the precise details, but that's the gist of it.
Seeds under 500gr is perfectly legal. No permit needed.
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Seeds under 500gr is perfectly legal. No permit needed.

Are you sure? If so, that means I could send internationally... Could you point me to where you got this information from?

I'd rather not break any laws.
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  • #10
Seeds under 500gr is perfectly legal. No permit needed.

Not legal in US that I'm aware of.
  • #11
Contact your local Ag Agency people and ask them. It's a simple enough task. Don't just trust what anyone here tells you - go to the agency whose job it is to inform people and apply the regulations!
  • #12
  • #13
Terraforums does not condone or encourage breaking laws Any posts suggesting such have been removed.

Import requirements vary from country to country. Many require phytosanitary certificates to accompany shipments of plants and seeds. Some don't. Some require additional certificates for specific pests and diseases. Typically it is up to the importer to be aware of the laws governing imports to their countries as it is the importer who is breaking the laws of their respective countries. However that does not mean the exporter is immune from criminal investigation through InterPol (International Criminal Police Organisation).

CITES is an International Treaty thus the requirements are basically the same - if the countries have signed into the treaty then export permits are required to ship them out and import permits are required to ship CITES listed specie into the country.

The enforcing authority in the United States is the Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS)

A brochure on CITES Permits and Licenses from the FWS is available here:

If you have any question contact the FWS. Contact information can be found in the above brochure or the FWS website.

A list of the CITES species can be found here:

Note at this time only Nepenthes raja and N. khasiana are listed as Appendix I species - plants, derivatives or any parts can not be imported/exported without permits. Hybrids of these species are exempt. All other species of Nepenthes are list under Appendix II which requires permits with exceptions:

All parts and derivatives, except:
a) seeds (including seedpods of Orchidaceae), spores and pollen (including pollinia). The exemption does not apply to seeds from Cactaceae spp. exported from Mexico, and to seeds from Beccariophoenixmadagascariensis and Neodypsis decaryi exported from Madagascar;
b) seedling or tissue cultures obtained in vitro, in solid or liquid media, transported in sterile containers;
c) cut flowers of artificially propagated plants;
d) fruits, and parts and derivatives thereof, of naturalized or artificially propagated plants of the genus Vanilla (Orchidaceae) and of the family Cactaceae;
e) stems, flowers, and parts and derivatives thereof, of naturalized or artificially propagated plants of the genera Opuntia subgenus Opuntia and Selenicereus (Cactaceae); and
f) finished products of Euphorbia antisyphilitica packaged and ready for retail trade.

The entire text of the CITES convention is available here:
  • #14
Beccariophoenixmadagascariensis, eh? That is quite a mouthful.