A question about plants and bulbs through airport security

Boyce Tankersley btankers@chicagobotanic.org
Tue, 27 Feb 2007 13:51:03 PST
To the best of my knowledge, all checked and hand-carried luggage is
x-rayed. For most seeds the levels of radiation are not mutagenic. I
don't have any information on long term effects on bulbs however. 

If in doubt, I would send them by UPS or FedEx.

Boyce Tankersley
Director of Living Plant Documentation
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
tel: 847-835-6841
fax: 847-835-1635
email: btankers@chicagobotanic.org

-----Original Message-----
From: pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Laura & Dave
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 3:40 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: [pbs] A question about plants and bulbs through airport

Does anyone know the effects of the x-ray machines on plants at Airport 
security? I'm going to the NARGS Winter Study Weekend in San Mateo, and 
probably will run into something that won't let go of my leg until I 
promise it a home.  In years past, there was no problem; I just carried 
them on and shoved them into the overhead bins.  More recently I brought

bulbs back from Chicago, and they insisted they be x-rayed, despite the 
easily inspectable net bags they were in.  And while I admit it is 
probably poor culture on my part, several of the bags full have not done

well (Galanthus elwesii and Leucojum vernum in particular), waning over 
the three year span since arriving.  I grow others of these species, and

they do well.

I'm not sure that plants can even be carried on anymore. I could pack 
them well and put them in my luggage, but I think those are x-rayed now 
too.  And there is always the problem of cold and low pressure in the 
baggage compartment.  Another alternative is shipping them (USPS, UPS 
etc.), but  I don't know what they are subjected to after they leave my 

Thanks, any advice would be appreciated.

  Dave Brastow, Tumwater Washington USA  zone 7A
  (With a light dusting of SNOW?! this morning)
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