Our House Rules

Get to know Etsy's legal terms and policies

Our House Rules

Plants, Herbs, Seeds and Soil

The shipment of plants, herbs, seeds, and soil often comes with additional requirements for both buyers and sellers in order to mitigate risks to personal safety and the health of the environment. Accordingly, some items in this category are prohibited on Etsy, while others may be geographically restricted.

1. Herbal Drugs
2. Hazardous Plant Materials
3. Invasive/Noxious Species
4. Endangered Species
5. Unidentified Species
6. Regional Shipping Requirements and Restrictions

1. Herbal Drugs

Etsy prohibits certain plants, herbs and seeds based on various laws and regulations that ban or restrict the sale of particular drug-like substances. This list is not exhaustive and is subject to change at any time.

Etsy currently prohibits the sale of the following substances:

  • Controlled substances, such as narcotics, marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), and steroids
  • Plants or plant parts from which hallucinogenic substances (dimethyltryptamine (DMT), D-lysergic acid amide (LSA), opiates, etc) can be derived, such as:
    • Acacia confusa
    • Acacia maidenii (Maiden's wattle)
    • Alicia anisopetala (Black ayahuasca)
    • Anadenanthera peregrina (Yopo)
    • Argyreia nervosa (Hawaiian baby woodrose)
    • Banisteriopsis caapi (Ayahuasca)
    • Diplopterys cabrerana (Chaliponga)
    • Mimosa hostilis/tenuiflora (Jurema/tepezcohuite)
    • Mitragyna speciosa (Kratom)
    • Peganum harmala (Harmine/harmaline/Syrian rue)
    • Poppy pods, unwashed seeds, and straw
    • Psychotria viridis (Chacruna leaves)
    • Salvia divinorum
  • Khat (Catha edulis)
  • Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa)
  • Hallucinogenic mushrooms, such as Psilocybin mushrooms, Amanita muscaria, fly agaric, and Amanita pantherina
  • Psychoactive cacti that produce mescaline or pellotine, such as:
    • Echinopsis lageniformis (Bolivian torch cactus)
    • Echinopsis pachanoi (San Pedro cactus)
    • Echinopsis peruviana (Peruvian torch cactus)
    • Lophophora diffusa (Peyote)
    • Lophophora williamsii (Peyote)
  • Any items presented as drug-like substances

2. Hazardous Plant Materials

Some plant materials present an unreasonable risk of harm due to their toxic, caustic, or poisonous properties. These hazardous materials are prohibited from sale on Etsy.

Examples of prohibited toxic plants include, but are not limited to:

  • Certain nightshades, such as deadly nightshade, Datura stramonium (Jimson weed), and American black nightshade
  • Certain hellebore, including white hellebore and green hellebore
  • Jequirity beans/rosary peas
  • Pong-pong seeds
  • Mandrake
  • Mayapple
  • Wolfsbane
  • Tabernanthe iboga (Ibogaine)
  • Tonka beans (Dipteryx odorata)
  • Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

3. Invasive Species

Invasive species are organisms which, when introduced into a non-native environment, out-compete other existing species to the detriment of the surrounding ecosystem. By their nature, they may be more harmful to some environments than others, so rules about these species vary greatly by region. Before shipping any living material, ensure that it is not restricted or prohibited as an invasive species in the area where it is being delivered. Please also be aware that the transport process may require additional checks to ensure that the item is not harboring any invasive pests. Additional regional guidance can be found below:

4. Endangered Species

It is prohibited to sell any endangered plant species identified as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Regionally-specific restrictions for endangered species also apply, and violations are subject to removal.

5. Unidentified Species

Listings for plants and seeds intended for planting must be identified in the listing by a common name and/or scientific name. Sellers may not list “grab bags” or “mystery listings” where the item being offered is not identified.

6. Regional Requirements and Restrictions

Both buyers and sellers must follow any applicable laws or shipping restrictions around plants, plant materials and seeds. This includes any state and local laws that may be applicable to the sale or shipping of such items. Regulations for plants and seeds vary depending on genus and country of origin. Also, regulations for a particular plant or seed may change depending on the pest or disease status of the originating country. In addition to these requirements, all shipments of plants, plant materials or seed products sold on Etsy must prominently display the following information on the outside of the package:

  • Name and address of the seller or shop
  • Name and address of the recipient
  • The country (including state/province, where applicable) from which the plant, plant material, or seeds originate
  • The contents of the package

You should check with your local government agency, such as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), for specific guidance on what is allowed to be sold across state and national borders. For example, many U.S. states have specific legal requirements for labeling and shipping plant and seed products. Note that certain countries may also have importation requirements such as a phytosanitary certificate, or require other licenses and/or permits to sell or import plants and seed products. Should you run afoul of any of these requirements, you are responsible for any penalties resulting from non-compliance.

Because laws vary from place to place, it is a good idea to consult an attorney or qualified legal expert if you have any further questions. While Etsy is unable to provide you legal advice, and cannot verify that all third-party resources are up to date or accurate, the following resources may be helpful if you plan to sell plants, plant materials or seeds.

USA:

Etsy restriction on sales to the United States: Etsy sellers located outside of the United States are restricted from selling the following to buyers located in the United States:

  • Live plants, seeds, cuttings, and bulbs that can be planted
  • Soil with organic substances. This does not include non-organic potting material such as pumice, gravel, and sand.
  • Organic fertilizers and soil conditioners, such as manure, compost, worm castings, worm/compost tea, sphagnum peat, grass clippings, straw, wood chips, and guano.

US State-level restrictions: Even sales within the United States may be subject to additional restrictions. Some examples of plants regulated by the USDA include bamboo seeds and plants, citrus plants, cotton seeds and plants, sandalwood, wheat, and noxious weeds. Find out more at the USDA’s website. You may also wish to consult the National Plant Board’s Federal & State Quarantine Summaries for further information on plant and seed product restrictions in U.S. states and territories.

Canada: For information regarding Canada’s rules and regulations, please refer to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website. In the EU, you can find more information at the European Commission’s website.

Australia: When sending plants or seeds to Australia, please refer to the Australian Government's Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON), which indicates whether your items are permitted for import, as well as the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment’s Importing plants and plant products page, which contains more detailed information on import requirements. We also suggest referencing the Australian state and territory requirements specific to the areas where you are planning to ship.

Shipping Carriers: Be sure also to consult the USPS or your local shipping carrier for specific restrictions regarding shipment of plants or seeds.

Last updated on Aug 3, 2022