I thought I would take a break from orchids today (we’ll get back to them next week) and combine my love of philately with my love of nature.
Here, then, are some flowers from my photograph collection and a United States postage stamps featuring that flower.
Kansas entered the Union on January 29, 1861, and its 100th anniversary of statehood was celebrated with the release of Scott #1183 on May 10, 1961 — why the Post Office didn’t release it on January 29, 1961, is beyond me. Its official nickname is the Sunflower State, and the highest point in the state is Mount Sunflower at 4,041 feet above sea level.
The poinsettia is native to Mexico and was introduced to the United States in 1825. The poinsettia industry was started by Albert Ecke in Los Angeles in 1900. His son, Paul Ecke, developed a specific grafting technique that allowed the poinsettia industry to expand, but it was Paul Ecke Jr. who was responsible for advancing the association between Christmas and poinsettias. Paul Jr. changed the market from mature plants shipped by rail to cuttings shipped by air, sent free plants to television stations for them to display on air from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and appeared on The Tonight Show and Bob Hope’s Christmas specials to promote poinsettias.
The Ecke family poinsettia operation moved to Encinitas (that’s right here in San Diego County!) in 1923.
Left to grow on their own, poinsettias will grow tall and scragly. The Eckes developed a grafting method, known only to them, that allowed them to create a compact, bushier plant. In the 1990s, a university researcher discovered, and published, the grafting method, allowing competitors to flourish, particularly those using low-cost labor in foreign countries.
In 2008, Paul Ecke III decided to stop producing plants in the U.S. The Ecke Family operations still control about 70% of the United States market and 50% of the worldwide market.
Roses are used to make perfumes, jams, jellies, marmalade, tea, rose syrup, and skin products. Some rose petals are candied, and rose creams are a traditional English confectionery.
Several Camellias are used to make tea, Camellia sinensis, known as the “tea plant,” being the most popular because its tea is considered the finest made from Camellias. Camellias also produce cooking oil for hundreds of millions of people in China and Southeast Asia. Camellia oil is also used to clean and protect the blades of cutting instruments.
There are a great variety of dahlias, resulting from their eight sets of chromosomes; most plants have only two sets of chromosomes. The best place to see dahlias in San Diego County is at the annual San Diego County Fair in June and July. For as long as I have been going to the Fair (18 years), there has always been a dahlia show with hundreds of beautiful flowers on display.
Some lilies, especially Lilium longiflorum (the common Easter Lily), are toxic to cats. The mechanism of toxicity is not understood but it involves damage to the renal tubular epithelium, causing acute kidney failure.
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
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