San Diego - On Valentine's Day, travelers may wish to bring flowers with them from Mexico into the U.S. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials want residents and visitors to know that certain flowers are prohibited and what to expect when they cross the border.
Prohibited flowers and plant materials are chrysanthemums, gladiolas and choisya and murraya -- both ornamental fillers -- and are not allowed to enter the U.S. from Mexico because they are known to harbor harmful pests and disease. Therefore, travelers cannot bring arrangements with chrysanthemums, gladiolas, choisya or murraya from Mexico through the passenger ports of entry.
Roses, carnations, and most other flowers are allowed into the U.S. after they pass inspection. However, plants potted in soil cannot be brought from Mexico. Travelers must declare all flowers and plants to CBP officers, to avoid penalties.
"We work to protect U.S. agricultural resources from harmful pests, so we thoroughly inspect agricultural products brought across the border," said Pete Flores, CBP acting director of field operations in San Diego. "We want travelers to know ahead of time what they can and cannot bring so there are no surprises at the port of entry."
Throughout the year, and especially around Valentine's Day, CBP agriculture specialists are busy making sure that flower imports are free from insects and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries of the U.S.
They are specially trained to inspect plant and animal products for signs of insects or disease. Their careful attention to detail ensures that even microscopic pests are detected and prevented from being introduced into U.S. where they could cause significant economic or environmental harm.
With the current restrictions, CBP is trying to prevent fungi called "Chrysanthemum White Rust" and "Gladiolus Rust" from entering the U.S. Additionally, some cut greenery, which are the plants used to fill a bouquet, may have pests or diseases. For example, Murraya (common name "orange jasmine") is a host for Asian citrus psyllid, a dangerous pest of citrus. If any portion of a bouquet has pests, the entire bouquet will be confiscated.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.