BETA Your feedback will help us improve the UK Plant Health Information Portal

CITES Guidance




  • Traders should check any potential CITES requirements by searching on Species+

- Traders can search by Latin binomial or common name in the EU Annex requirements.

  • The UK will accept joint CITES-phytosanitary certificates used in lieu of CITES export permits as long as the relevant provisions, i.e. the phytosanitary certificate has a stamp, seal or declaration indicating the specimens are artificially propagated as defined by CITES and the country issuing the joint document is registered with the CITES Secretariat for doing so.
  • Shipments using a joint CITES-phytosanitary certificate will also need a UK CITES import permit.
  • When applying for an import permit given the limited validity of a phytosanitary, applicants should make it clear on the application that a joint CITES-phytosanitary certificate document is being used so APHA can expedite the processing of the corresponding import applications.
  • The usual CITES and Plant Health declarations need to be made on the CDS/CHIEF and PEACH systems respectively. Traders should declare the shipment contains CITES goods for Border Force clearance purposes. Ports will have signage to direct exporters/importers to the Border Force offices where the CITES check will take place.
  • The original copy of the joint CITES-phytosanitary certificate needs to travel with the shipment for UK Border Force to endorse. The original phytosanitary certificate will be retained by Border Force and sent directly to APHA.


Orchids (with Annotation #4):

All species in the Family Orchidaceae are CITES-listed, with the following exceptions:

  • Artificially propagated hybrids of Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis and Vanda, provided:

- specimens are readily recognizable as artificially propagated and do not show any signs of having been collected in the wild*; and

- when shipped in non-flowering state, the specimens must be traded in shipments consisting of individual containers (such as cartons, boxes, crates or individual shelves of CC-containers) each containing 20 or more plants of the same hybrid; the plants within each container must exhibit a high degree of uniformity and healthiness; and the shipment must be accompanied by documentation, such as an invoice, which clearly states the number of plants of each hybrid; or

- when shipped in flowering state, with at least one fully open flower per specimen, no minimum number of specimens per shipment is required but specimens must be professionally processed for commercial retail sale, e.g. labelled with printed labels or packaged with printed packages indicating the name of the hybrid and the country of final processing. This should be clearly visible and allow easy verification.

*such as mechanical damage or strong dehydration resulting from collection, irregular growth and heterogeneous size and shape within a taxon and shipment, algae or other epiphyllous organisms adhering to leaves, or damage by insects or other pests

Cactus listing (with Annotation #4):

All species in the Family Cactaceae are CITES-listed except Pereskia spp., Pereskiopsis spp. and Quiabentia spp.

  • Artificially propagated specimens of the following hybrids and/or cultivars are also exempt from CITES controls:

- Hatiora x graeseri;

- Schlumbergera x buckleyi;

- Schlumbergera russelliana x Schlumbergera truncata;

- Schlumbergera orssichiana x Schlumbergera truncata;

- Schlumbergera opuntioides x Schlumbergera truncata;

- Schlumbergera truncata (cultivars);

- Cactaceae spp. colour mutants grafted on the following grafting stocks Harrisia 'Jusbertii', Hylocereus trigonus or Hylocereus undatus;

- Opuntia microdasys (cultivars).

Annotation #4 (to be read with the above listings for orchids and cacti):

#4 Designates all parts and derivatives [of these species as under CITES controls], except:

(a) seeds (including seedpods of Orchidaceae), spores and pollen (including pollinia). The exemption does not apply to seeds from Cactaceae spp. exported from Mexico, and to seeds from Beccariophoenix madagascariensis and Dypsis decaryi exported from Madagascar;

(b) seedling or tissue cultures obtained in vitro, in solid or liquid media, transported in sterile containers;

(c) cut flowers of artificially propagated plants;

(d) fruits and parts and derivatives thereof of naturalized or artificially propagated plants of the genus Vanilla (Orchidaceae) and of the family Cactaceae;

(e) stems, flowers, and parts and derivatives thereof of naturalized or artificially propagated plants of the genera Opuntia subgenus Opuntia and Selenicereus (Cactaceae); and

(f) finished products of Aloe ferox and Euphorbia antisyphilitica packaged and ready for retail trade.

For reference, although not an exhaustive list some other commonly traded CITES-species are:

  • Aloes (except Aloe vera)

  • Euphorbiaceae (succulent varieites)

  • Dionaea muscipula

  • Nepenthaceae

  • Sarraceniaceae

  • Pachypodium

  • Galanthus

  • Sternbergia

  • Cyathea

  • Beaucarnea

  • Cycadaceae

  • Araucaria araucana

Further guidance:

For further guidance on importing and exporting endangered species and to check if you need a CITES permit, please visit