Wednesday, December 28, 2011

There were succulent stamps in my stocking!

My Christmas stocking that is.

On December 11, 1981 in Tucson, AZ, the USPS issued this se-tenant (se-ten•ant; a block of commemorative stamps printed together on the same sheet but differing in design, color, value, or overprint) of four stamps depicting U.S. desert plants. The stamps were designed by Frank Waslick. The dealer who sold Santa Andrew the succulent stamps also sent along these ‘11th International Botanical Congress’ stamps as freebies… Only 6 cents, I wonder when stamps were that cheap? Research time…

“On August 23, 1969, the U.S. Post Office released a set of four stamps to mark the meeting of the 11th International Botanical Congress in Seattle, Washington. Portrayed on the 6-cent stamps were famous plants associated with the four regions of the country.

Northwest: Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii
Northeast: Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium reginae
Southwest: Ocotillo, Fouquieria splendens
Southeast: Franklinia, Fanklinia alatamaha

First day of issue ceremonies were held in Seattle on the day prior to the opening of the Botanical Congress. The Franklinia, now extinct in the wild, was once native to Georgia.” (source) "The International Botanical Congress (IBC) is an international meeting of botanists in all scientific fields, authorized by the International Association of Botanical and Mycological Societies (IABMS) and held every six years, with the location rotating between different continents. The IBC has the power to alter the ICN (International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants), which was renamed from the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) at the XVIII IBC. Formally the power resides with the Plenary Session; in practice this approves the decisions of the Nomenclature Section. The Nomenclature Section meets before the actual Congress and deals with all proposals to modify the Code: this includes ratifying recommendations from sub-committees on conservation. To reduce the risk of a hasty decision the Nomenclature Section adopts a 60% majority requirement for any change not already recommended by a committee." (source)

Good to know they have safe guards in place against hasty decisions isn't it?...

When I went looking to learn what went on at this International Botanical Congress in Seattle I stumbled on the photo below (source) taken during a field trip of the Seattle Botanical Congress goers to Oregon. They look like a fun bunch don’t they? I wonder where they visited; it looks more like Eastern Oregon than Western. By the way I’m not a stamp collector...there was a theme running through many of the holiday gifts from my husband this year, images of my favorite plants. I've got a several vintage photograph reproductions and a couple of new art prints to get framed. I see a great succulent wall grouping in my future!

Oh and this was going to be a simple Wordless Wednesday post with just images of the stamps, but I’ve never been any good at the wordless thing. I hope some of you found this interesting!


  1. Oooh, great gift! And I'm glad you didn't choose to go "wordless" today since interesting and fun research would have been left out.

  2. Wow. What a nice vendor. That Ocotilla stamp fits perfectly with the Sonoran desert theme!

    Very Cool.

  3. Love this post! Thanks for sharing that bit of history.

  4. Figured! I was bummed when I didn't buy more of the Sonoran Desert stamps several years back. And they would never do Mojave Desert, let alone Chihuahuan Desert stamps, I am sure...

    They need to do some forever stamps with desert plants on them!

  5. What a cool and original gift!

  6. Santa has obviously been watching you carefully and deduced that you have been a very good girl.

  7. Crikey, 6 cent stamps.

  8. You have a very, very, VERY nice husband to get you themed gifts like those stamps and vintage photos. Aren't you glad you didn't reach into the stocking to find a real agave? Ouch!

  9. Shirley, now I have to decide what a non-stamp collector does with a mini stamp windfall!

    Jenn, naturally the Ocotillo is my favorite of that group.

    Anzelina, thank you for saying so. It's nice when others find something interesting that you do.

    DD, I didn't remember the Sonoran Desert stamps so I had to look them up, those were fun, no agave though. Forever stamps with desert plants would be fabulous...I'd buy enough stamps to use them for the rest of my life.

    Mark and Gaz, from my cool and original guy.

    ricki, and he would be right, of course.

    ks, I know!!!!

    David, that would have been a little startling...there was a Tillandsia though.


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