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I have received some sweet pea and Safflower seeds from China, would they be carrying any virus ? should i burn them or plant them ? yours peter bryan



You should plant them Peter. If the donor plant was virused the virus would be carried over in cuttings, bulbs or division but not in seeds. These are quite safe. Just because the plant material comes from China should give no more concern regarding virus than material from any other country.

7 Oct, 2013


I am shocked to hear you say that Bulbaholic. Seeds CAN spread plant diseases and hundreds of pathogens are known to be seed-borne.

I believe it could be an offense to import plant material from a non EU country without a Phytosanitary Certificate as this could introduce a plant disease to the UK which we don't yet have.

You only have to look back on past history, things like Phytophthora infestan (potato blight), which was introduced to Ireland in the early 1800's and devastated the potato crop killing an estimated 1 million people. Closer to home is Dutch Elm disease, which incidentally spread through Europe from Asia.

I can diversify and go on and mention things like the rainbow trout, brought from America which is threatening our own indigenous brown trout the same way as the introduction of the Grey squirrel from Canada is now a big threat to the red squirrel because someone thought they look nice and wanted to have them.

I'm sorry to go on about this and I don't mean to cause offense, it's just that I'm really passionate about trying to preserve what we have left of our nature and not lose any more.

7 Oct, 2013


I am not wanting to argue with you, Myron, but that is not my understanding about seeds. Bulbs and plants yes, these do carry disease and require a Phytosanitary Certificate to be imported to many countries, such a certificate is not required for seed.
As you know, I grow bulbs and alpines from seed and am involved with the international seed exchange for the SRGC. Club members from all over the world submit seeds to the distribution centre and we then send it on to recipients. Two countries, the USA and New Zealand, have very strict import regulations for seed but this is to limit the introduction of potentially invasive non-native species and are not required to have a Phytosanitary Certificate.
Growing bulbs in pots, as I do, I have to be very aware of virus infection amongst my stock. Should I suspect virus in a pot of special bulbs, that pot of bulbs is isolated until I can collect seed from it and the bulbs then destroyed. The new bulbs grown from seed will be virus free.
Whilst I agree whole heartedly with your examples, Myron, they were all the result of importing growing material or animals.

8 Oct, 2013

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