On 15th February, the USPS will be releasing a special set of 10 postage stamps at the American Philatelic Society Ameristamp Expo in Mesa, Ariz., in conjunction with the annual Aripex stamp show. Cactus plants such as Opuntia engelmannii, Rebutia minuscule, Echinocereus dasyacanthus, Echinocereus poselgeri, Echinocereus coccineus, Pelecyphora aselliformis, Parodia microsperma, Echinocactus horizonthalonius, Thelocactus heterochromus and Parodia scopa. These cacti are also known by other common names, for example, the Parodia scope is called as “silver ball cactus”. However, the scientific names are mentioned as botanists keep changing the common names after new discoveries. Former University of Arizona president, John P. Schaefer captured the photos featured on these stamps. USPS art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps. Two pictorial first-day cancels will be used to postmark first-day covers. The round-shaped black cancel has 12 petals in the centre like a flower. The coloured cancel feature five cactus flowers in three different types. 400 million stamps in 20 million double-sided panes of 20 will be printed initially.
Cacti are mostly lush plants with a fleshy stem that stores moisture. The cactus does not have any leaves but has spines in different colours, sizes, shapes and textures. Their flowers are also very unique and colourful.
A 4¢ stamp was issued to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Arizona statehood in 1962. This stamp features a huge saguaro cactus. Two stamps from the 20¢ Desert Plants set of four feature cactus plants as well. One depicts the barrel cactus, while the other one shows beavertail cactus. A flowering Christmas cactus was featured on a non-denominated (49¢) forever stamp in the Winter Flowers set of four that was released in 2014.
Image Courtesy: USPS