When one travels domestically in the United States, they are generally allowed to bring plants with them, so long as they are non-toxic and do not carry any harmful diseases or pests.
However, while transporting plants domestically may technically be legal, it is not without controversy. Many people do not know how to check for plant pests and diseases—and as a result, they may inadvertently bring a known plant issue to an area where it has not yet reached.
This conversation recently became relevant again after TikTok users Rafa and Vero (@.rafayvero) showed themselves transporting a plant in an airport. It is unclear whether their destination is domestic or international.
“POV: When you see a pretty plant at the airport, so you have to take a piece home to propagate it,” they write in the caption.
Some may argue Rafa and Vero are engaged in something called “proplifting.” This is when one steals a piece of a plant in order to propagate it. While this is commonly a problem for stores selling plants, other businesses can still have cuttings lifted from their plants and propagated.
@.rafayvero Come to mama 🌱 #plantmom #plantsoftiktok #plants #planttiktok #propogateplants ♬ original sound – where._.audios.come.from
That said, the alleged theft is only part of the issue, as TikTok user Matt Lipari (@mattlipari) explained in a response video.
“For real, I’m not joking, I hope you got arrested when you landed,” Lipari says in his clip.
@mattlipari #stitch with @Rafa & Vero #comedy ♬ original sound – Matt Lipari
“I know there’s an invasive species hitching a ride on that plant…It’s about to be decimating ecosystems because you wanted your little Chick-fil-A smuggling operation to go successfully,” Lipari states. “No!…They take f*cking bringing wildlife from other countries pretty seriously.”
While some of Lipari’s statements are a joke, several users emphasized the seriousness of bringing plants from one country to another.
“DO NOT DO THIS,” one user commented.
“Don’t take plants across state or country lines,” echoed another. “There’s often invasive species of insects that can travel between them. There’s a reason for policies.”
Additionally, some users questioned why Rafa and Vero would take on this risk, given that the plant they are transporting is commonly available in much of the United States. Others also claimed that the commonness of this plant made transporting it less of a risk.
“Its just a pathos njoy,” shared a user. “Its not that uncommon.”
“Why are people freaking out when this is one of the most common house plants,” questioned a second. “Most plant people own a pathos of some sort.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Lipari via email and Rafa and Vero via TikTok comment.