Conservation -- September 2000

Carnivores on Stamps and Currency

Richard Ellis

Keywords: arts: stamps.

Many of us carnivorous plant enthusiasts are collectors at heart. We tuck moss-filled aquariums in all the corners of our homes, and when we inevitably have nowhere else to put another Nepenthes or Sarracenia hybrid we start collecting pygmy sundews. If this sounds like you, then you should consider collecting carnivorous plant stamps and currency. A complete collection will fit into a small notebook and you do not need to find someone to water it when you go on your next scenic bog vacation!

The last Carnivorous Plant Newsletter article devoted to stamps was in the March 1981 issue. Since then the number of carnivorous plant stamps has more than tripled, and the number of carnivorous plant genera pictured on stamps has more than doubled. There has even been a new banknote featuring a carnivorous plant. Pitcher plants are still the most popular carnivorous plant subjects, with Nepenthes being the most-portrayed carnivorous plant genus. As noted in the 1981 article, the Seychelles had produced two stamps of Nepenthes pervillei; they have since added two more to their stamp repertoire. In 1983 they issued a series commemorating the centennial of Marianne North’s visit to the Seychelles. Marianne North, the botanical illustrator for whom Nepenthes northiana was named, painted many members of the Seychelles’ flora, and four of her works, including her rendering of Nepenthes pervillei (Back cover, top left), are reproduced in this stamp series. Another Seychelles Nepenthes pervillei stamp features an immature pitcher and was issued in 1990 for the International Garden and Greenery Exposition held in Japan that year. Both of these Seychelles stamp series are available as separate stamps or as "souvenir sheets" which have all four stamps and a decorative border.

Several countries have honored their Nepenthes on stamps for the first time. In 1986, New Caledonia portrayed Nepenthes vieillardii on a 73F stamp, while in the following year Palau issued a seventeen stamp series of native plants that included Nepenthes mirabilis on the $2 stamp (Back cover, top row). In 1996, Malaysia issued a wonderful series of four Nepenthes stamps depicting upper and lower pitchers of N. sanguinea, N. macfarlanei, N. rajah and N. lowii (Back cover, top row). Hybrid Nepenthes have also made an appearance on stamps. A 1991 series from Sierra Leone, honoring the Munich Botanic Gardens, shows Nepenthes x mixta, a manmade cross of N. maxima and N. northiana, while a 1995 series from Tanzania depicts Nepenthes x hybrida (Back cover, second row), a manmade cross of N. gracilis and N. khasiana.

Three cheers for Laos, which made the first stamp series devoted entirely to our favorite plants! This series of six Plantes Insectivores was issued in 1995 and shows Nepenthes villosa (Back cover, second row), Dionaea muscipula (Back cover, second row), Sarracenia flava, Sarracenia purpurea, Nepenthes ampullaria and Nepenthes gracilis. It seems a little ironic that Laos would be the first country to put the Venus Flytrap on a stamp and detail oriented carnivorous plant enthusiasts will no doubt notice that the artist put seven trigger hairs on one lobe and eleven on the other. The stamp of Nepenthes gracilis is a singlet souvenir sheet with the majority of the image running off the stamp and rendered on the border.

A series titled "Wildlife Stamp Week" from Malaysia, issued in 1996, also has a Nepenthes along the margins. While the foci of this souvenir sheet are animals, there is an unmistakable Nepenthes lurking in the bottom right corner at the foot of a tricolored squirrel.

Other new carnivorous plant stamps of previously represented genera have come from The Faroe Islands, Japan, Sierra Leone, and Ireland. The Faroe Islands’ stamp depicts Pinguicula vulgaris as one in a series of four on native wildflowers (Back cover, third row). The most recent carnivorous plant stamp that I am aware of shows Aldrovanda vesiculosa in Hozoji-numa Pond and was issued by Japan in 1997 (Takai, 1998). Two new Sarracenia stamps celebrate botanic gardens. The first was produced by Sierra Leone in 1991 and honors the Munich, Brooklyn and Tokyo botanic gardens on three sheetlets. The series on the Munich gardens shows Sarracenia flava (Back cover, third row) as well as the above mentioned Nepenthes x mixta. Ireland issued the second new Sarracenia stamp in 1995 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. This stamp shows Sarracenia x moorei--the first artificially produced Sarracenia hybrid--and is named after Dr. David Moore, the director of the gardens at that time (Nelson, 1998).

In addition to the first stamp of the Venus Flytrap in the series from Laos, there are several genera of carnivorous plants that are new to the world of philately, including Triphyophyllum, Drosera, Utricularia, Darlingtonia and Cephalotus. The Ivory Coast issued the first stamp of the rarely seen Triphyophyllum peltatum in a series of three native plant stamps in 1985 (Back cover, third row). France has the honors of issuing the first Drosera stamp with a depiction of Drosera rotundifolia in a series on wetland flora (Back cover, third row). Thailand issued an attractive series of four stamps, three of which are Utricularia, including U. delphinioides, U. minutissima (Back cover, fourth row) and U. bifida. The United Nations continued its annual series on endangered species, and in 1996 issued a series of twelve plants, including Darlingtonia californica and Cephalotus follicularis Back cover, fourth row).

Currency does not change as quickly as stamps but carnivorous plants are even appearing on money. The 1981 Carnivorous Plant Newsletter article described the Newfoundland pennies with Sarracenia purpurea and the June 1985 Carnivorous Plant Newsletter had a picture of the Malaysian $20 note with Nepenthes rafflesiana. Recently, the $5 note from Brunei began sporting an engraved rendition of Nepenthes lowii.

If all these new stamps of carnivorous plants have you itching to start your own collection, then here are a few hints. Knowing the stamp number will help you communicate what you are looking for to stamp dealers. Stamp dealers in different countries use different numbering systems. Scott is used almost exclusively in the United States while Stanley Gibbons, Michel and Yvert & Tellier are some of the most common systems elsewhere. Table 1 has a complete listing of Scott numbers and a partial list of other numbering systems. In most cases, the number for the individual stamp is listed but be aware that the same stamp alone, or in a souvenir sheet, can be assigned different numbers. Most of these stamps are relatively inexpensive but it can be quite a challenge to locate them. Stamp dealers are typically reluctant to break up a set of stamps to sell the one of interest so be prepared to purchase the whole series. Stamp shows are a good place to check out multiple stamp dealers at the same time. Be prepared to search through boxes of stamps labeled "flowers." Your local dealers can tell you what stamp shows will be occurring in your area. Lastly, for those with access to the World Wide Web, there are two sites devoted to carnivorous plant stamps, one maintained by myself and another by Ruedi Fürst, a collector in Switzerland:

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/8564/

http://www.schulnetz.ch/unterrichten/fachbereiche/botanik/cp_homepage/insektivoren_anders.html

 

Table 1: Numbers for Carnivorous Plant Stamps

Country

Year

Gibbons

Michel

Scott

Yvert

Plant pictured

Canada

1966

552

352

427

352

Sarracenia purpurea

Faroe Islands

1988

160

159

172

159

Pinguicula vulgaris

France

1992

3087

2911

2299

2767

Drosera rotundifolia

Guyana

1971

542

395

133

 

Heliamphora nutans

Ireland

1978

423

392

430

380

Pinguicula grandiflora

 

1995

974

918

984

921

Sarracenia x moorei

Ivory Coast

1985

 

885

769c

724c

Triphyophyllum peltatum

Japan

1978

1497

1356

1320

1258

Pinguicula ramosa

 

1997

 

 

2315

2358

Aldrovanda vesiculosa

Laos

1974

394

381

C116

115

Nepenthes mirabilis

 

1995

1461

 

1237

 

Nepenthes villosa

 

1995

1462

 

1238

 

Dionaea muscipula

 

1995

1463

 

1239

 

Sarracenia flava

 

1995

1464

 

1240

 

Sarracenia purpurea

 

1995

1465

 

1241

 

Nepenthes ampullaria

 

1995

 

 

1242

 

Nepenthes gracilis

Madagascar

1973

255

692

496

532

Nepenthes pervillei

 

1973

256

693

497

533

Nepenthes pervillei

Malaysia

1996

599

 

578

598

Nepenthes sanguinea

 

1996

600

 

579

599

Nepenthes macfarlanei

 

1996

601

 

580

600

Nepenthes rajah

 

1996

602

 

581

601

Nepenthes lowii

 

1996

626

 

604

B/F16

Unidentified Nepenthes

New Caledonia

1986

797

793

549

527

Nepenthes vieillardii

Palau

1987

186

186

140

168

Nepenthes mirabilis

Romania

1966

3399

2527

1867

2232

Aldrovanda vesiculosa

Seychelles

1970

288

282

280

275

Nepenthes pervillei

 

1977

418

408

402

386

Nepenthes pervillei

 

1983

571

543

527

538

Nepenthes pervillei

 

1990

778

725

702

715

Nepenthes pervillei

Seychelles Zil Eloigne Sesel

1980

15

15

15

15

Nepenthes pervillei

Sierra Leone

1991

1692

1682

1424e

1354

Sarracenia flava

 

1991

1698

1688

1424k

1360

Nepenthes x mixta

St. Pierre & Miquelon

1962

419

393

C24

27

Sarracenia purpurea

Tanzania

1995

1920

1883

1306

1705

Nepenthes x hybrida

Thailand

1995

1748

1613

1584

1589

Utricularia delphinioides

 

1995

1749

1614

1585

1590

Utricularia minutissima

 

1995

1747

1615

1587

1592

Utricularia bifida

United Nations Geneva

1996

G293

 

283

311

Darlingtonia californica

United Nations New York

1996

696

 

676

697

Cephalotus follicularis

References

Nelson, E.C. 1992, Carnivorous Plants in Ireland III: David Moore and Sarracenia x moorei at Glasnevin, Carniv. Pl. Newslett., 21, 95-98.

Nelson, E.C. 1998, A Carnivorous Plant on an Irish Postage Stamp: David Moore and Sarracenia Hybrids at Glasnevin Botanic Gardens, Carniv. Pl. Newslett., 28, xx-xx..

Spiers, D.C. 1981, Carnivorophytes on Stamps and Coins, Carniv. Pl. Newslett., 10, p11-19.

Scott 1999 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue 155th Edition in 6 Volumes, Scott Publishing Co.

Takai, I. 1998, News and Views, Carniv. Pl. Newslett., 27, 44.

Thiede, C. 1985, News and Views, Carniv. Pl. Newslett., 14, 34-35.



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