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How to pack palm seeds for shipping?

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We had the opportunity to collect seeds from an adult Talipot palm in Costa Rica, and decided to germinate them, we had luck and most of them are growing now. Almost a year later, another Talipot palm had mature fruits, and we collected most of them. We have had several people interested in getting some Corypha umbraculifera seeds, but we are very new to this shipping seeds process, so we wanted to know if someone here has information on the best way to pack these seeds to be able to ship to the USA, or maybe another country also, bus specially to the US. We know we need to provide a phytosanitary certificate given by our Costa Rica Ministry of Agriculture, so the seeds can cleared out of US customs without any problem. Any other information you can provide will beef great help, most interest on the best packaging material, plastic bags? or boxes? do they need to be vacuum sealed? or just normal seal? the tags that need to be stick to the package? 

Hope someone can guide me a little with this topic.

Thanks in advance!

Pura vida!


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Are you going to clean them before shipping?  It's extra time up front, but it can save you some weight on shipping.  Not sure how leaky and moist these fruits are, but if they are and you don't clean them, you definitely want to double bag them before putting them in a box.

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Thank you! Yes they are cleaned up from the fruit parts, and only the dried seeds will be packed 


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You may find that not only do you need phytosanitary certificates from CR (does the CR government inspect and license your nursery?) but that the US requires its citizens to apply for and have a Small Lot Seed Importation Permit (free but must be applied for) that has forms for him and for you to fill out and that limit buyer to a maximum of 50 seeds per species. You fill out your forms, then send seeds with permits, forms, seeds and SASE addressed to customer to a US Customs Inspection office closest to buyer's address. In my case that is in Miami, a 3-4 hour drive from my house. US Customs opens your envelope to inspect and decide whether to seize or let seeds go on. Then it is up to the buyer to pay US Customs postage to mail seeds to him or to travel over to the customs location to pick up the seeds.

I had one of those Small Lot Seeds Permits years ago but never used it. I had a problem burdening Spanish-speaking Costa Ricans with complicated forms in English that required knowledge of Latin nomenclature. And even if they managed to jump through those hoops and got the seeds to US Customs I had no intention of driving (that was before my vision started to fail) 8-10 hours round trip to Miami to pick up seeds. US Customs offered to send seeds to me IF:  1) I opened a Fed Ex or UPS account and gave them the #  OR  2) I gave them a credit card # to keep on file to charge shipping. Guess how I responded to those simple requests?

You can always try to wing it and send a trial lot of seeds to someone in the US with just a phyto and CR customs declaration. Maybe it will go through. But it will probably end up in Miami Customs. Many years ago a palm friend in CR sent me seeds from his garden in a greeting card envelope. I ended up with an empty envelope and a nasty letter from US Customs telling me if they ever caught me trying to import plant material from Central America again, I would be prosecuted. I never asked for seeds from CR again.

Since the covid lockdowns started last year, US Customs is cracking down on any plant material from overseas. RPS now requires a $29 phyto to send a packet of 10 seeds from Germany. Customs focuses attention on Asia, SA and the Caribbean. I've read they can X-ray pkgs and see what may be in there and whether a phyto is there. I used to buy palm seeds from Asia - no longer. Most Asian sellers don't provide phytos but very few bother to tell buyers that.

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