August 9th, 2017

Rare and Precious Plants in Hong Kong. 4 special stamps released by Hong Kong Post hurries to present to our readers’ attention a set of four special stamps on the theme of "Rare and Precious Plants in Hong Kong.

The stamps feature four plants - Ilex graciliflora, Bulbophyllum bicolor, Begonia hongkongensis and Illicium angustisepalum. The issue is to raise public awareness about conservation of Hong Kong's rare and precious plants as well as their natural habitats. Let`s get acquainted with these special philatelic items together!

Located on the northern fringe of the tropics and blessed with warm weather and abundant rainfall, Hong Kong boasts a rich variety of species of flora, including many rare and precious plants. Apart from having high aesthetic value, plants are also an invaluable asset to nature. In particular, plants are indispensable to human beings as well as other organisms.

$1.70 stamp - Ilex graciliflora is an evergreen tree of the Aquifoliaceae family, reaching 6 to 9 metres in height. Its young branchlets are nearly cylindrical with longitudinal ridges and sparsely soft hairs. Its oval-shaped leaves are thick and leathery. The plant blooms white flowers with four petals in early summer and produces red and globose fruits. The type specimen was collected from Happy Valley between 1847 and 1850.

$2.90 stamp - Bulbophyllum bicoloris an epiphytic orchid with a woody rhizome and one narrowly oblong leaf arising from the top of an ovoid pseudobulb. The inflorescence grows from the base of the pseudobulb and blooms in early summer. The flowers are light yellow with purple spots inside at the base, and the petals flush purplish-red at the tip. The curved lip varies in colour from olive-green to orange-red. This species was first discovered in Hong Kong in 1830.

$3.70 stamp - Begonia hongkongensis is a perennial herb with a creeping rhizome from the Begoniaceae family. The plant bears ovate leaves with a slightly oblique base and irregularly serrated margins. White unisexual flowers are in blossom in summer.  The type specimen of this species was collected from Tuen Mun in 1997.

$5 stamp - Illicium angustisepalum is a small tree of the Illiciaceae family which can grow to 3 metres high. Its angled branchlets bear leaves appearing to be arranged in whorls. White or light yellow flowers burst into bloom in spring. Each fruit is composed of 11 to 16 follicles. This species was first discovered at Lantau Peak in 1905 and the type specimen was collected from the same location in the same year.

To echo the theme, the stamps and souvenir sheet are printed with paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, distinguished by the use of raw materials and production processes that comply with stringent standards.

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