Best way to obtain seeds internationally (other than buying online)

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Soumil Yarlagadda, May 1, 2023.

  1. Soumil Yarlagadda

    Soumil Yarlagadda Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Imagine i want to get fresh Acer Opalus (Italian Maple), or any other tree seeds in the fall, preferrably from its native range. Yes, buying online is a good option, but availability is rare and sometimes vacant for a few years. Cant wait that long. There are a few options I have to get seeds of Acer Opalus:

    1. Fly to Europe (Italy, Spain) and using Inaturalist or other sources to find stands of Acer opalus and directly collect the seeds myself. Problem is i dont know if I would be allowed to fly back to the US with the collected seed. also this option is very expensive (flying) But its very thrilling to have an adventure.

    2. Kindly ask or hire someone that lives close to stands of Acer Opalus to collect seed and send them (By mail?) to my address. Seems feasible. I dont know how to contact anyone that lives there though. Could I do that in this forum?
     
  2. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I don't know the regulations about sending / receiving seeds across the Atlantic, but getting in touch with a US (or Canadian) member of this forum that can send you seeds must be the best option.
     
  3. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    The MS seed exchange works independently in Europe and in North America : the people in charge do it on their free time, and it's much easier to proceed this way.

    As for hiding seeds in a packet of sweets, I personally wouldn't do that : the seeds of some trees/plants are not welcome in some countries, because they're considered as invasive species or can contain germs or critters that are dangerous for the local plants - I wouldn't have said that when I was in my 20s, but now that I'm an old pensioner, I've become rather respectful of the law, especially when the environment is concerned. But of course, it's a very mild offence that would probably have no consequence either for the people involved in such a scheme, or the flora of California <LOL>
     
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  4. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    To do it the official way you are going to need some sort of import paperwork, perhaps a phytosanitary certificate or the like. There will be a USDA web page detailing the requirements somewhere. Will also list prohibited species which should not be imported.
     
  5. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    However, it is usually possible to send seeds back and forth from EU to US, without any problem. The main risk seems to be confiscation, which is rare but not unheard of.

    The problem is of course finding real A. opalus seeds. It's not like there are isolated stands of it around the country; to find them, quite a lot of work is required. There was an article by Dan Crowley some years ago about searching for sound opalus seed in the backwoods, IIRC he didn't find any and hoped to try again some day.

    The issue with the MS seed exchange has always been that the seed is of garden source. There is some sound seed in there, but it's crap shoot to know whether you'll have any; except with worse odds! The root of the question is, of course, even if it looks like the real species, you can't be sure it is, and after many years it may exhibit secondary characteristics indicating hybridization.

    Also, who knows what's happening with the seed exchange? I don't. Last I heard, France exchanges JM seed, the US is supposed to organize but hasn't, etc. And no one knows how the new organization (of which we haven't been informed, but must exist) will effect anything.
     
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  6. Soumil Yarlagadda

    Soumil Yarlagadda Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Ive been saving exact locations of wild specimens from nearly every acer species on google maps So i might one day be able to collect them lol. Inaturalist is a great tool to start, seinet too
     
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  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Word of caution about iNaturalist: their tagging of specimens as wild, or not wild, is extremely poor. Huge numbers of obvious cultivated plants, often way outside of the species' native range, are listed as "wild" when they aren't.
     
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