Australia Post is featuring beautiful Australian orchids with the release of a new stamp issue. The four domestic base-rate (60c) stamps depict the Golden Rock Orchid Dockrilliastriolata ssp. chrysantha, Bee Orchid Caladeniadiscoidea, Orange Blossom Orchid Sarcochilusfalcatusand the Shirt Orchid Thelymitracampanulata.
"Australians have a love of flowers and these exquisite native orchid varieties are especially appealing. We anticipate that the beautiful designs in this stamp issue will see many 'flowers' being sent through the post when the issue is released," said Australia Post's Philatelic Manager, Mr Michael Zsolt.
In Australia there are around 1,300 orchid species with 95 per cent of these not found anywhere else in the world. The native orchids represented on the stamps are found in various parts of Australia, including Tasmania, Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The Australian orchids taking centre stage in the new stamp issue are:
Golden Rock Orchid, Dockrilliastriolata ssp. Chrysantha - is found in south-eastern Australia and is fairly common on the central and north-eastern coast of Tasmania. The fragrant, creamy yellow flowers appear in September and October. Tasmania has about 210 species of native orchids.
Bee Orchid, Caladeniadiscoidea - is found on the coastal planes and slopes from north of Perth to Albany and Esperance in Western Australia. The flowers are coloured yellowish-green, red and deep purplish-red and flower from August to October.
Orange Blossom Orchid, Sarcochilusfalcatus - is widely distributed throughout eastern Australia, from eastern Victoria and New South Wales to Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. The flower form is extremely variable and blooms from June to October.
The most common form has snow white petals, purple striped sepals, and orange and yellow markings on the lip.
Shirt Orchid, Thelymitracampanulata - is widely distributed through near-coastal areas from the Murchison River to Israelite Bay east of Esperance in Western Australia. The flower colours range from pale to deep blue, or pink to mauve, with clearly marked longitudinal stripes in deep tonings. It flowers in September and October.
The designer of the stamps is Sonia Young of the Australia Post Design Studio featuring photographs by Gary Backhouse.