As Día de los Muertos approaches, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are reminding families that ornamental greenery known as murraya — or orange jasmine — that often is used in the construction of altars is prohibited in the states.
“Our CBP officers and agriculture specialists are the nation’s front line of defense against plant pests and diseases that could inflict serious harm on American agriculture,” said David P. Higgerson, director of the Laredo field office, in a press release.
Also, travelers should leave oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, sour oranges, sweet limes, guavas, mangoes, peaches and pomegranates at home, he says.
“At this festive time of year, we want to remind travelers ahead of time that ornamental greenery such as orange jasmine and certain citrus fruits are prohibited so there are no surprises at the border,” Higgerson said.
The problem, in particular, with murraya is that it’s a host plant for an insect that carries citrus greening disease, which is a major concern for the Rio Grande Valley’s citrus growers.
The disease, which first showed up in Florida in 2005, arrived in the Rio Grande Valley in 2012.