USA MEMBERS please pay particular attention to the following statement issued by The International Horticultural Seed Exchange Advocacy (IHSEA), of which our Society is a member;

“The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has published the new rule regarding requirements for importing “Small Lots of Seed” into the USA. This new rule supersedes the previous need for a Phytosanitary certificate by establishing a new permit for importing Small Lots of Seed.
This rule comes into effect on May 15, 2006, when these new permits will be available at no charge, and will be good for three years, and multiple uses.
Applications for this new Permit (Form 587) will be online, along with instructions for obtaining permits, and other relevant information at  Click on the "Small Lots of Seed Program" to view the requirements for this new permit. To apply for the permit, click on "PPQ Form 587," which will contain the
special instructions for filling out the application to obtain the permit for Small Lots of Seed.

This site will refer to the Nursery Stock Manual, which will have updated lists of plant taxa that are restricted or prohibited, or simply not eligible to be imported under this new Permit.

"Small Lots of Seed" are now defined as:
A maximum of 50 seeds, or 10 grams of seed (whichever is greater) per packet; and
A maximum of 50 packets of seed per shipment.
Imported seeds and seed shipments must meet some other criteria, most of which are already observed by our seed exchanges, private seed houses, and knowledgeable individuals.
Once a permit is obtained, it can be updated from this same site in the future 

A new ePermit system has also gone into effect, and the people at APHIS are hoping that US residents will use this new electronic method, which they say will save a substantial amount of time in receiving the permit. A special, one-time eAuthentication process is necessary, and all information can be found at:


For further information and for those without internet access, the person currently handling plant permits is:
Carolyn Fitzgerald
4700 River Road
Riverdale, MD  20737-1236
Tel; 1-877-770-5990 (toll free), Fax; 301-734-5786, Email;


Once a permit is obtained, the USDA will make available to the member a quantity of mailing labels bearing the address of the member’s nearest USDA inspection centre. US members must send me a copy of the permit and one of these USDA labels with each order so that I can direct their order to their nearest US Inspection Station, I in turn will supply the necessary mailing label for onward shipment to the members home address


A number of you will be only too painfully aware we have had problems in the last couple of years with US members’ orders having been confiscated for lack of the correct documentation.  I have also been informed by certain members that they have been threatened by the authorities with prosecution should they have continued to order in the way that they had previously

In view of this development it will now be the responsibility of US members to obtain a permit, and I hope that members will understand that in future the Society will only accept orders from US members accompanied by a copy of their permit and an appropriate USDA label. It will also be the member’s responsibility to ensure that items ordered are eligible for importation. 

In order that US members do not miss out on the choicer items whilst obtaining their permits, in the interim I will continue to accept member’s orders by either regular or email, but no payment will be taken, nor will any order be despatched, until I have received written confirmation accompanied by the above-mentioned permit copy and USDA label.


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Back in 2003 the Society received correspondence from the Australian Authorities regarding the importation of seed, and I published the following guide for Australian members. As far as I am aware this still holds good to the present day.

April 2003

For the attention of our Australian Members -  regarding Customs and Quarantine issues


Following the mailing of orders from List One back in January, I received correspondence from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), informing me that mail that I had sent had been seized as it failed to meet Australian Quarantine Laws.  Although it made no mention of the recipients involved, the letter also detailed the severe penalties, including large fines or imprisonment, which could result in the case of repeated offences.

It would seem that regulations have changed, and I know that Rosalie Sutton in Western Australia had her mail intercepted, even though she had followed the regulations correctly.  To any other member who has not received their order I can but apologise, for it seems that unwittingly we have upset someone in authority.

Rosalie and her son Dane have kindly made some enquiries for me and I have been in touch with AQIS directly – an email from Tony Brennan of the International Mail Program follows in its entirety.


The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) does not wish to prevent your organisation from supplying seeds to your Australian members.  To the contrary, AQIS would like to assist you with Australian quarantine issues associated with the supply of seeds to Australian members.  To this end, please be aware that seeds imported into Australia are required to be identified with their botanical name and meet specific conditions, which include being free of soil, live insects and other contaminants. 


AQIS understands that it is not always feasible for companies to print the botanical names onto individual packets as they rely on the use of identification codes.  However, it is important to understand that seeds that cannot be identified will not be allowed into Australia.  Helping AQIS to process seeds entering Australia is as simple as placing the order form or catalogue containing the botanical names into the parcel so that AQIS inspectors can cross-reference the codes on the seed packets with the botanical names.


Seeds entering Australia fall into 3 main categories, these being: Permitted (subject to inspection); Restricted (requires treatment and/or a permit); and Prohibited.  When a permit is required, it is the responsibility of the consignee to apply for the permit and meet the permit's requirements. 


Generally, species of the Asclepiadaceae family belong to the Permitted category.  However, Asclepias curassavica is classified as restricted and requires treatment and A. syriaca and A. rostrata are prohibited.


Further information regarding import conditions can be found using AQIS's Import Conditions Database (ICON).  ICON is a simple and convenient way to access information about Australian import conditions for many thousands of plant species and other commodities.  ICON can be used to determine if a species of seed intended for export to Australia needs a quarantine permit, mandatory treatment or if there are any other quarantine requirements.  ICON can be accessed via the internet at the following address


The best advice you can give your Australian customers is that Australia has strict quarantine requirements and if they wish to obtain further information they can contact AQIS by email, phone 1800 020 504 or visit our website  This will assist your customers in making informed choices when ordering seed.  It is also import that your customers check State government requirements to ensure that these seeds are permitted entry into their particular State


AQIS is also in the process of initiating an e-commerce project.  This project will be offering Internet sites a link to place on their website to inform people of quarantine regulations.  This link will take customers to an international quarantine page where they can select a number of countries.  A formal letter inviting participation will be sent to you soon.


I would like to thank you for your cooperation in this matter and I look forward to future cooperation on the e-commerce project.


Yours sincerely


Tony Brennan

International Mail Program


It would appear that different states within Australia have different data bases of allowed / banned species, but I am sure that with a bit of effort, between us we should be able to get around any problems.  Whilst for my part I can ensure that all the packets I send to Australia meet the stated requirements, especially that they are correctly labelled rather than just having the code number as previously used, as I suspect that this is the major stumbling block; however I must ask all members to check with their respective States’ AQIS office regarding the status of all the seeds which they intend to order.  For example for Western Australia the plants must also appear on the list found at this site;


Now I fully understand that government departments around the world are notoriously slow when we need information from them and I am sure that AQIS will be no different, and bearing in mind my comments regarding availability on Page 1 of the current list, I have no wish to put Australian members at a disadvantage when it comes to ordering the choicer species or those that are in short supply.  I therefore propose to use the method that Rosalie successfully used when ordering from list one.  Rosalie sent me her order, which I filled straight away and then held whilst she checked with the Western Australian AQIS Office.  Having got clearance she then let me know and I posted her order. 


Can I therefore ask Australian members not to knowingly order seeds of banned plants, and to mark their orders either;


“State AQIS Clearance Obtained”    -  These orders will be sent straight away 




“Awaiting State AQIS Clearance”  -  These orders will be filled straight away but held here before posting until confirmation is received.


NB As it is the not the Society’s intention to knowingly break any country’s customs and quarantine laws, I regret that I will have to return any orders from Australian members which do not bear one or other of the above statements. 


For your guidance here follows a list of addresses of each of the Australian State’s AQIS Offices, and whilst apologising for the inconvenience caused I trust that I may rely on members co-operation in order that I can continue to supply you with seed,

Very best regards,

Chris Moore

IAS Seedbank Secretary


AQIS International Mail Centres


New South Wales


AQIS International Mail Program, PO Box 657, Mascot, NSW 1460

Sydney Parcel Centre Ph: 02 9897 2108 Fax: 02 9897 7728

Mail Handling Unit. Sydney Airport Ph: 02 8338 0081 Fax: 02 8338 1349




AQIS International Mail Program,

Brisbane Airport Logistic Centre, 25-27 Qantas Drive, Brisbane Airport, QLD 4007

Ph: 07 3860 5494 Fax: 07 3860 4704




AQIS International Mail Program, PO Box 1491, Tullamarine, VIC 3043

Ph: 03 9310 3155 Fax: 03 9920 1718


Western Australia


AQIS International Mail Program, Attn: Perth International Mail Centre, PO Box 1410, Canningvale, WA 6970

Ph: 08 9311 5333 Fax: 08 9277 6889


South Australia


AQIS International Mail Program, PO Box 63, Port Adelaide SA 5015

Ph: 08 8410 6590 Fax: 08 8410 6590


Northern Territory


AQIS International Mail Program, DPIF AQIS Operations, PO Box 1970, Berrimah, NT 0828

Ph: 08 8981 9000 Fax: 08 8981 6555


Australian Capital Territory


AQIS International Mail Program, GPO Box 858, Canberra, ACT 2601

Ph: 02 6272 3933 Fax: 02 6272 3468



email: 1800 020 504 (free call within Australia)



Members in New Zealand should consult the relative page of the Biosecurity New Zealand web site

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