can (should) I mail seeds to friend in Iraq?

Hi. A friend is now in (southern) Iraq and he’s an avid gardner. I was wondering if I’m allowed to send him plant seeds through his army mail address? I was planning on sending some dragon fruit seeds since they’ve been known to grown in the shade in some deserts. Is this bad for the local ecology?

Give Customs a call. They should know both our rules and the rules of other countries.

Bad idea. You never know what sort of plant diseases and fungi may be hitching a ride on those seeds. Plus the plants themselves may turn out to be noxious weeds in their new environment. The US has some very strict regulations on the types of seeds that may be imported. Any seeds that are allowed in must undergo strict quarantine and decontamination. There are probably little or no regulations yet in place in Iraq, but that’s no reason not to follow good seed import practices.

You can find a country’s postal regulations on the USPS website.

The Peace Corps (who are huge sticklers for following the rules to a T) recommends that volunteers bring their own seeds to their assigned countries if they’d like to garden. I don’t think the military would be different.

Thanks. I would only send seeds or cuttings from a dealer with a phytosanitary (sp?) ability. I doubt dragon fruit meets the criteria for noxius weed since it does not grow easily or spread quickly. Unlike kudzu or grasses, etc., it would be easy to contain or kill.