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ebay seller collecting wild seeds

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Jul 3, 2011
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Pretty much all Nepenthes seeds on eBay are wild collected. There's a number of regular seed collectors in Indonesia and Malaysia who supply various sellers like Yescarnivorousfarm, which is based on South Korea.

This is not fantasy or conjecture - it is a known fact. If you are buying species Nepenthes seed off fleabay, you are buying from people who live in (or in close proximity to) the habitats where the species grow, and these people collect from native populations. What should also be said is that many times, sellers will collect any seeds they find and either guess or intentionally mislabel them, knowing they will get far more $$ for "N. aristolochiodes" than they will for N. maxima. So not only are you paying these people to rob the habitat of seed, you are also highly likely to get seeds of a species other than what you expect.

About eBay ratings: sellers that get high ratings are receiving ratings for the service (speed of shipping, "quality" of the seeds, price, etc), NOT veracity of the product! Buyers review these sellers looooong before they can verify the identity of the species they have bought. The ratings say absolutely nothing about the honesty of the seller or the authenticity of the product.
 
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Joined
Jan 7, 2004
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Utah
hey guys, I came across this while searching for something else and I thought this might interest you guys. This isn't the evidence I was talking about but it can give you an insight to what I'm talking about.
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/BDAAAOSwIStakytu/s-l300.jpg

I appreciate your potentially very innocent and genuine concern and desire to help us out to avoid certain sellers. Specifically this one.

But you are making it too much of a chore to wait and wait to read what you have to say and it all just seems so flakey that I just don't care anymore.

We all can agree on one thing as others have said in this thread "Buyer beware on eBay!" good. Awesome. Enough said.

Later Stanford!
 
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Not a Number

Hello, I must be going...
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Major red flags are if the seller will not or cannot supply certificates or tells you not certificates or permits are required.

If you are importing seeds or plants to the US without the proper permits, certificates and quarantine inspection then you are doing so illegally and unethically.

Snicker at me as you might for saying so, but you could end up learning the hard way as a (former) TF member did.
 
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Snicker at me as you might for saying so, but you could end up learning the hard way as a (former) TF member did.


Two things I should point out here:

Firstly most of that article is completely inaccurate. The author wrote it based entirely on a court affidavit (being unable to obtain any more reliable information,) which in itself was full of inaccuracies since the investigating agents really did not understand the matter they were investigating, and does not represent the actual charges filed in the court case.

Secondly, the illegal importation was not even his fault. The entire ordeal was over a single plant, which he was importing from a seller apparently recommended by other experienced growers in the US, with the understanding that proper paperwork would be included, and the seller did not provide. Apparently the government doesn't care, it's always the receiver's fault. I've personally talked to people who have gotten angry phone calls from inspection stations because nurseries accidentally included an extra plant in a box not listed on the phyto, threatening fines if it happened again in the future.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
3,940
Two things I should point out here:

Firstly most of that article is completely inaccurate. The author wrote it based entirely on a court affidavit (being unable to obtain any more reliable information,) which in itself was full of inaccuracies since the investigating agents really did not understand the matter they were investigating, and does not represent the actual charges filed in the court case.

Secondly, the illegal importation was not even his fault. The entire ordeal was over a single plant, which he was importing from a seller apparently recommended by other experienced growers in the US, with the understanding that proper paperwork would be included, and the seller did not provide. Apparently the government doesn't care, it's always the receiver's fault. I've personally talked to people who have gotten angry phone calls from inspection stations because nurseries accidentally included an extra plant in a box not listed on the phyto, threatening fines if it happened again in the future.

All true, but this is still a cautionary tale that everyone here should heed.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2013
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Houston TX
I have bought lots of seeds from this person in the past, and very sadly I noticed that he has clearly fudged the harvest date on the current eBay listings by about 4 months. How do I know this? There are dozens of species listed from across five different islands, and nothing changed about the listings except for the harvest date. There is no chance that exactly all of the same species previously listed were harvested, and then up-stocked into their inventory, all within the same week, without any additions, or out of stock items (!). (spoiler alert, I think they're all fake)

Regarding the wild origins of the seeds... The owner openly admits that the the seeds are wild in the yescarnivorousfarm FB group. There was a big announcement when eBay updated their policies to exclude wild seeds, that they would still be wild, just secretly. The real crime here is that Ebay allows this to continue... I personally know a few different prominent figures in this field, who regularly call eBay and complain about the guy. These are the same people who got the Ebay policy changed in the first place. His store has been dissolved and remade several times, why Ebay can't get a clue, I don't know.

I don't have any screenshots of this but anyone who has been watching the listings should be able to deduce what is really going on. I'm now wondering if any of the seeds at all were genuine. I think they're all just ventratas! Only a very small fraction of people have grown difficult highlanders from seed - it's very very hard to do even for experts. And if you did get the edwardsiana to a size where you'd know that it's genuine, it would be at least 2 years later (probably closer to 4)and too late to do anything about it if it weren't. And truly, of the hundreds of people who buy the seeds, only a very tiny fraction of them will make it at all (and it won't be the edwardsiana just be real).

If you do decide to try and grow something like this, it needs to be from a very trusted source, and not someone without respect for the impact of seed collection on wild populations. And if you aren't sowing them in-vitro, you don't have a chance with these slow-growing highlanders - get real. To play devils advocate, it isn't really the people reading this thread that we need to worry about, it's the internet randos who have never even grown a tomato before. Even though the people reading this will probably also kill them, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the waves of uninformed consumers that we never see. And to further play devils advocate, selling seeds does serve to commoditize having living, mature plants in the wild, which is a big improvement from poached plants being the only way the people who live in these environments can benefit from them.

Before you go accosting me for stirring the pot, I have only logged in here a few times before, and may never again, and probably will not see any replies. Thanks it's just food for thought ok.
 
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Joined
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Nalasopara (near Bombay/Mumbai)
I was aware of wild seed sellers on ebay. I initially saw photos of plants growing in pots and read their disclaimer that their seeds don't violate ebay policies or some such and purchased seeds, then as I explored the sellers account to add more seeds, I purchased several. I've purchased seeds from this guy many times. I don't usually read the description much beyond the harvest date, which I quickly realized would always be recent (whether the seeds were actually fresh or not).

It is only recently as I started exploring the possibility of attempting to grow highlanders in my very hot climate, that I realized that the seeds of highlanders were not exactly as abundant as say... ampullaria and got skeptical about the seeds on ebay - which, till then I was thinking I was buying from a reputed nursery - also the name implies that. Unfortunately, by then, I had already purchased several highland seeds - which are already germinating with me.

That said, I don't know that I would avoid buying most of them even after knowing they were poached. But I would think deeply before considering seeds of plants that are endangered in the wild like alisaputrana (which actually was another seller - tutsin_0) or kinnabaluensis and such.

Personally, I'm a big skeptic of conservation laws and how they are applied and think that the practices generally hinder the law abiding more than the actual problem, particularly in developing countries where law enforcement can be a vague thing. We've seen habitats of endangered species wiped out by our own govt in the name of "development" and the law prevents those wanting to collect those species to protect from doing so... Freaking drosera indica and burmanii and peltata are endangered in India because of climate change, contamination of water from overuse of chemical inputs in agriculture, illegal cutting down of trees, legal cutting down of trees, mining... etc and get this - if you collect them or their seeds to hopefully grow them safely out of their vulnerable stage to return to the location, you are breaking law. If you take them home to grow them in the hope that the few species indigenous to India survive, you are breaking law. All the drosera burmanii and indica I have are obtained from abroad/sellers in India (who also probably obtained from abroad) so I can show receipts in case someone targets me, when they grow indigenously here. Personally, I think in third world countries, if there are endangered species that can be protected out of reach of the govt, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. lol Just think of humans as one more way species propagate themselves far and wide.

So personally, I'm not so against selling of poached seeds. I don't trust govts to preserve habitats and it is impossible to take all the nepenthes seeds of any species out of a forest like this, because heck open *one* packet of nepenthes seeds under a fan and see them fly.

That said, I don't know about the laws for importing to the US, but importing seeds in small quantities for growing (as opposed to tons of wheat, etc) is not regulated here, so not a lot the law can do to prevent it. Importing live plants is more.... complicated. End result being most buyers from say... BCP from India are likely to be more in problem with the law than those buying poached seeds. The method for importing plants is so obscure and convoluted, that most people buying from India gamble and ask the sellers to just ship with the right documents on their end and leave it at that. Not even authorities are able to give clear answers on exactly what to do to import live CPs. On their part, customs consistently seems to let these parcels through as long as they look clean and are bare root. One of those don't ask, don't tell situations. One opinion from a professional import-export agent I asked was that such items that are obviously for personal consumption don't require anything, but he also couldn't be certain where the law says that.

If the law were strictly enforced in India, we'd all be reduced to buying the poached seeds instead of the fantastic plants from BE etc. lol So it is a good thing that they are lax.

This is one crazy country.
 
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