Dos and don’ts when Crossing Valentine’s Day flowers from Mexico to US

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El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the most common flower crossed from Juarez to El Paso is the rose.

The good news is roses are allowed. However, it’s what might be in the rose bouquet that’s not. If a rose flower arrangement uses filler many of those fillers are not allowed.

“Once I declared them he sent me into inspection and then right then and there the officer came in and grabbed the flowers and took them apart and just took out the greenery stuff and just told me that the roses are aloud but not the greenery,” said Perla Jimenez who crosses from Juarez to El Paso frequently.

Valentine’s is the busiest time for CBP Agriculture Specialists who are tasked with checking each flower coming across the border. The specialists make sure the flowers won’t bring in any diseases or pests.

“We’re not only looking for plant diseases. We’re also looking for insects who may be hanging on for a little ride with the flowers and other things that are coming in,” said Charles Payne a Supervisory CBP Agriculture Specialist.

Most common prohibited flowers include:

  • Chrysanthemums
  • Gladiolas
  • Choisya (an Ornamental filler)
  • Cordyline – leaves & stems
  • Flowering Quince
  • Quince stems
  • Mock Orange
  • Juniper
  • Spruce
  • Hemlock
  • Fir
  • Cedar
  • Pine: two & three needless cluster
  • Douglas fir

Every flower that comes across the border must be declared. CBP says if non permitted flowers are not declared the penalty is a $300 fine.

“In the case that you don’t know if it’s the greenery that’s aloud or not then at least you declare them,” said Jimenez. “They can just take them apart like they did with mine, and you don’t get fined.”

CBP says if you plan to purchase flowers in Juarez this Valentine’s, tell the florist the flowers will be crossed so they will know not to use prohibited flowers.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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