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Shipments Plants into CA

Just a FYI for anyone shipping into CA, last month we shipped 3 boxes (2 with just Cephs, and the third with 2 Pings + 1 Anubus nana), well the Cephs arrived safely but we got a call from the CA Department of Agriculture concerning the 3rd box saying that one of their dogs alerted on the box and they wanted to open it. No problems go ahead, after all its just plants you can find in every aquarium shop and Pings that are SOLD out of CA. We actually bought those 2 pings a year or two ago from a commercial nursery in CA. Long story short, Anubus nana and Pings can not be legally shipped into CA. From the language the Department of Agriculture was using this would apply to ANY and all aquatic or semi aquatic plants coming into the state.

We just this afternoon received the box back, 16 days in transit, non of the packing was opened it looks like they opened the box saw a zip lock bag and closed the box, not allowed into CA. Thanks to good packing all 3 plants arrived back in good shape. We are just out the postage.

Just a warning in the 10+ years of shipping plants into CA this is the first time we have ever had an issue. Sadly it will be our last as we will no longer ship into CA.
I posted a warning 2 1/2 years ago that the USDA, CDFA as well as other states were using dogs to inspect packages for live plants. In order to legally ship plants by mail they should have a nursery license and taxa printed on the outside of the box along with any other specific permits or certificates required by the state being shipped to.

From the CDFA:

"All aquarium plants are only admissible if they are accompanied by a certificate issued by the authorized agricultural official of the state where produced, verifying the shipment is free of hydrilla, and all plants meet all the California entry requirements."


Your shipment was rejected because you probably lacked a nursery license, phytosanitary certificate and/or other certificates. If the plants harbored pests or plants considered noxious weeds you may have be looking at fines from the State of California and the Federal Government.

I'm sure the laws are stated correctly, but the individual we spoke to was not worried about certificates, or anything else. All they wanted to know was what the plants were and then quickly followed up with ALL aquatic plants reguardless of shipping method/means are not allowed into CA. They did not seem educated in the job they were performing. More of the drug dog handler that was now doing the job of an aquatics dog handler. Oh and I forgot to mention all 3 boxes where clearly marked on 4 sides hand written in big letters....."Live plants keep from cold or heat" :) No need for the dog.

Either way there was no talk of any fines of certificates needed. Just easier if we don't ship to CA anymore :)

More of an FYI/my experience post than anything else. So many laws on the books contradict themselves or are just not enforced by anyone.