Late February 2020 saw the United States Postal Service release new stamps celebrating the gorgeous flowers of 9 different orchids. The Wild Orchids stamps, which are the “Forever” type (always equal to the price of one-ounce First Class Mail), join a long list of USPS stamps that share the beauty of flowers, plants and gardening.
The Wild Orchids stamps were dedicated at the American Orchid Society Library at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Fla., on February 21, 2020.
“Orchids can be hard to find in a natural setting and today there is a conservation effort to preserve these beautiful flowers,” said Jakki Krage Strako, chief customer and marketing officer and executive vice president for the U.S. Postal Service, who served as the event’s dedicating official. “Each of these stamps represent a masterpiece of nature that blossoms with color. They also continue the Postal Service tradition of showcasing the natural beauty of flowers on stamps.”
“Orchids are the world’s most familiar group of flowers and these charming stamps showcase nine of the over 200 orchid species native to the United States,” said Lawrence Zettler, director of the orchid recovery program at Illinois College and another guest at the dedication. “These stamps also serve as a reminder of their beauty and their vulnerability.”
There are more than 30,000 species of wild orchids in the world. Many that are native to North America are endangered or threatened, making sightings in their natural environment increasingly rare. The stamps feature photographs of nine species: Cypripedium californicum, Hexalectris spicata, Cypripedium reginae, Spiranthes odorata, Triphora trianthophoros, Platanthera grandiflora, Cyrtopodium polyphyllum, Calopogon tuberosus and Platanthera leucophaea.
“It’s amazing that my passions of photographing wild orchids and stamp collecting have converged today with the release of these stamps,” said Jim Fowler, who took the photos for the stamps. “My childhood interest in photography began on the knee of my mother, who was an accomplished photographer; my passion for the beauty of plants, I learned from my great-grandmother, who was a botanist at the Department of Agriculture; and the hobby of stamp collecting, I picked up from my older brother.”