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Berries on new stamps from Taiwan

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Chunghwa Post previously issued a set of stamps on berries on January 12, 2012. Now it is following up with a second set featuring four species: Rhodomyrtus tomentosa, Ardisia squamulosa, Hylocereus undatus, and Mahonia japonica.

The stamp designs follow:

1. Rhodomyrtus tomentosa (NT$2.5): Also known as downy rose myrtle, it is found on the slopes of foothills and low-elevation mountains. This evergreen shrub has leathery leaves that are ovate or obovate with smooth margins. The flowers are scarlet. The berries are urceolate and enclosed within a persistent calyx. When ripe, they are red or dark purple, with red edible flesh.

2. Ardisia squamulosa (NT$7): Found throughout Taiwan, this evergreen shrub or small tree is widely used as a hedge or ornamental plant. It has oblanceolate or obovate leaves with smooth margins. Its corolla is light pink to white. When ripe, its oblate berries are red to dark purple and sweetly tart.

3. Hylocereus undatus (NT$10): These berries, also known as dragon fruit, are cultivated throughout Taiwan. This fleshy epiphytic climbing perennial has a dark green stem, each node of which has climbing roots to help it climb higher. The leaves degenerate into small thorns, and its rhizome becomes a thick, fat water-laden stem. The plant has large sweet-scented trumpet-shaped white flowers, and ellipsoid, large and edible berries.

4. Mahonia japonica (NT$32): Also known as leatherleaf Mahonia, this small evergreen bush is spread throughout northern Taiwan at elevations of 500-1000 meters. Its small leaves, either elliptical or ovate-lanceolate, are leathery with sharp pointed tips and slightly curled edges. It has yellow flowers and ovoid berries that are dark purple when ripe. The berries can be eaten fresh or turned into juice. The plant is famous for its medicinal uses.

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