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plants and US customs

I recently took a trip to Europe, bought some aquatic plants from a
local store, and thought I'd see if I could bring them back through US

In my case, I went through Detroit, declared the plants on the customs
form and took the detour through the Agriculture inspection. The
customs person I spoke with was very nice, seemed to know what was
going on and basically said, "sorry you can't bring plants in
anymore".  The rules have tightened up lately, and one can only bring
in stuff that is "certified" to be OK to bring in. In practice, this
doesn't seem feasible for plants bought at a local shop.

I was given the following form (dated March, 2002). It says:

    If you are carrying nursery stock, plants, roots, bulbs, cutting,
    or seeds into the US...

    The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that a
    phytosanitary certificat of inspection accompany restricted
    articles, other than certain greenhouse-grown plants or seeds from
    Canada. Phytosanitary certificates are issues by the plant health
    officials in the country where the product originates. Check with
    th evendor to make sure you have the proper paperwor!

    Items with the proper paperwork willbe confiscated and safely

    For more information, call 1-866-SAFGUARD and select option #2 or
    contact the USDA State Plant Health Director nearest you. A list
    of offices can be found in the phone book or on the web at

Anyone have more info or know if such a certificate is actually
obtainably by hobbyist's? The customs person I spoke wasn't very
encouraging. He said they weren't even allowed to let seeds get
through anymore.

More info on certificates is here, but this appears to be about
getting a certificate for plants you want to take out  of the US.