New Zealand's unique marine environment is home to nearly 900 species of native seaweed, a third of which occur nowhere else in the world. Five of these native seaweeds are celebrated in this unique stamp issue.
Seaweeds are an essential part of New Zealand's marine ecosystem, providing food, habitats and shelter to a wide variety of marine life.
The New Zealand Native Seaweeds stamp issue reflects New Zealand's remarkable marine biodiversity, and the five unique seaweeds portrayed are Hormosira banksii, Landsburgia quercifolia, Caulerpa brownii, Marginariella boryana and Pterocladia lucida. Each of the species is beautifully illustrated on a gummed stamp that contains the scientific name of the seaweed.
70c - Hormosira banksii
Discovered by English naturalist, Sir Joseph Banks, Hormosira banksii is a common sight on New Zealand's intertidal shores. Its distinctive beads have earned this seaweed many nicknames, including Neptune's necklace, Neptune's pearls, sea grapes and bubbleweed. Its beads are filled with gas, allowing them to float to obtain more sunlight.
$1.40 - Landsburgia quercifolia
Landsburgia quercifolia is easily recognisable by its oak-shaped leaves, and is endemic to New Zealand waters. Found mostly around the subtropical Three Kings Islands, this robust seaweed can grow to an impressive 1.5 metres tall, although it grows only in subtidal areas, in deep water.
$1.90 - Caulerpa brownii
Named after its discoverer, British collector Robert Brown, Caulerpa brownie is sometimes called sea rimu due to its resemblance to rimu foliage. This large species is found in mainly tropical and subtropical locations, growing to about 30 centimetres in height.
$2.40 - Marginariella boryana
Marginariella boryana, endemic to New Zealand, is the largest of these five seaweeds, growing to more than two metres in length. Found along one edge of its slender, strap-like branches are narrow, golden reproductive structures, shaped like small cigars.
$2.90 - Pterocladia lucida
Pterocladia lucida is more commonly known as agar weed, named for agar for which it is harvested. This rich, dark red, sometimes iridescent plant grows to somewhere between 30 and 50 centimetres in height, although it can vary greatly in overall width and size.