Monday, 16 April 2018

A new stamp issue: the comeback kids

Some exciting news from Ian Denholm, Chair of BSBI’s Board of Trustees, joint County Recorder for Hertfordshire, one of our expert plant referees and past President of BSBI

Not many people know this but Ian is also a keen philatelist which makes his report below even more fitting!  

Over to Ian:

“Thursday April 19th sees the release of a new set of six GB stamps on the theme of species that have been reintroduced into Britain following extinction or near-extinction in the wild.

“The one concession to botany in this set is Stinking Hawk’s-beard, Crepis foetida, a plant formerly restricted to a few coastal sites in south-east England that reportedly became extinct in its sole remaining locality at Dungeness, Kent, in 1980. 

"A re-introduction programme using indigenous seed from Cambridge Botanic Garden has focused primarily on coastal shingle at Dungeness and at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve in Sussex. 

[LM: There's a bit more info about the re-introduction here on the Sussex Wildlife Trust's website]. 

Back to Ian:

“I was consulted by Royal Mail on the design of this stamp, and hope that it is anatomically accurate! 

"Characters that help to differentiate C. foetida from other British species of Crepis, and which can be compared with photographs I took of plants in situ in Kent (on right), are the drooping flower bud and the narrow compressed pappus, fancifully resembling the tip of an artist’s paintbrush (see above). 

"Another notable character that cannot be incorporated into a stamp is the smell, likened by some to that of bitter almonds.

“The other five stamps in the set depict osprey, large blue butterfly, Eurasian beaver, pool frog and sand lizard”.

Many thanks to Ian for telling us about the new stamp and the story behind it, and for providing the images shown on this page.