CORAL GABLES, FL — The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the striking beauty of wild orchids with the release of the Wild Orchids Forever stamps. Part of the largest family of plants on Earth, orchids grow in many climates and thrive under various conditions.
The stamps were dedicated at the American Orchid Society Library at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, FL.
Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps with photographs taken by James A. Fowler.
“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 of U.S. Postal Service, who served as the event’s dedicating official. “Each stamp represents a masterpiece of nature that blossoms with color. They also continue the Postal Service tradition of showcasing the natural beauty of flowers on stamps.”
Joining Strako to dedicate the stamps were Georgia Tasker, author, horticulture writer and Pulitzer Prize finalist; Susan Wedegaertner, president American Orchid Society; photographer James A. Fowler; and Lawrence Zettler, director of the orchid recovery program, Illinois College.
“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 Zettler. “These stamps also remind them of their beauty and vulnerability.”
Each stamp features a photograph of one of these nine species: Cypripedium californicum, Hexalectris spicata, Cypripedium reginae, Spiranthes odorata, Triphora trianthophoros, Platanthera grandiflora, Cyrtopodium polyphyllum, Calopogon tuberosus and Platanthera leucophaea. The booklet contains 10 stamp designs, and each design is featured twice for a total of 20 stamps. For example, Triphora tranthophoros is featured on two stamp designs, including the booklet cover.
The Wild Orchids stamps will also be issued in coils of 3,000 and 10,000.
There are more than 30,000 species of wild orchids in the world. Unfortunately, many natives of North America are endangered or threatened, making sightings in their natural environment increasingly rare.
These striking flowers are native to damp woodlands, and numerous organizations across the country are working to preserve orchid habitats. Orchids also thrive in cultivated gardens or as houseplants.
“Amazingly, my passions of photographing wild orchids and stamp collecting have converged today with the release of these stamps,” said Fowler. “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.”
The Wild Orchids stamps are being issued as Forever stamps, which will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.