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Orchids on new stamps from Papua New Guinea

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Papua New Guinea Post issued yesterday a series of four stamps dedicated to the unique group of orchids called "Spatulata".

These orchids are found all over Papua New Guinea from all highlands to the coastal areas and islands. They have been used extensively in hybridising and have help create the cut flower industry in South East Asia.

Spatulata orchids have horn like petals and come in many different colours and size combinations. One of the outstanding orchids in this group is the Sepik Blue, Dendrobium lasianthera, famous throughout the world for its colour, style and grace, as well as being the emblem of the Orchid Society of Papua New Guinea.

Orchids are flowering plants with between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species, which equals more than twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species.

A majority of orchids are perennial epiphytes, which means that they grow to trees or shrubs in the tropics and subtropics. Other species are lithophytes, growing on rocks or very rocky soil, or are terrestrial.

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