Sunday, February 11, 2018

Freshwater Flora

After a set of fours stamps on the theme 'Freshwater Fauna', released on 6 June 2016, the Mauritius Post released on 18 October 2016 a set of four stamps on the theme 'Freshwater Flora'.

Rs11  Water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri)

B. monnieri, commonly referred to as the water hyssop, is a perennial (lives for more than two years), creeping herb native to the wetlands of southern and Eastern India, the Mascarenes, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America.

Usually found on marshes of brackish water around coastal areas, B. monnieri is fairly ramified, with roots appearing on the nodes of the branches. The leaves are relatively fleshy, and the solitary flowers are white despite tinges of purple having been observed occasionally.

The water hyssop is a medicinal herb used in Ayurveda, where it is also known as "Brahmi", after Brahmā, the creator God of the Hindu pantheon. It is thought to cure epilepsy, asthma, ulcers, tumors, ascites, enlarged spleen, inflammations, leprosy, anaemia, and gastroenteritis.

B. monnieri is listed as 'least concern' by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as it is widespread with stable populations and does not face any major threats.

Rs13 –  Mexican primrose willow (Ludwigia octovalvis)

L. octovalvis can be found in Central America, the Mascarenes, Australia, South-East Asia, the Middle East, and the CentralWest African regions.

The Mexican primrose willow is found on wet areas, marshes and along rivers or paths. It grows to one meter tall on average, though old specimens can exceptionally reach up to four metres in height. Its leaves are covered in small hairs and its flowers are yellow in appearance.

In Mauritius, this species is commonly referred to as "herbe les mares", "herbe gandia" or "herbe Joséphine". Used in herbal medicine, L. octovalvis is known for its antiageing properties.

L. octovalvis is usually considered as an invasive species and is also listed as 'least concern' by the IUCN.

Rs16 & Rs31  –  Sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

N. nucifera, commonly known as the lotus or the sacred lotus, is an aquatic perennial native to tropical Asia, and Queensland, Australia. It is the national flower of India and Vietnam.

N. nucifera normally grows up to a height of about 150 cm and a horizontal spread of 3 metres. Leaves can be as larges as 60 cm in diameter, while its showy flowers may be up to 20 cm in diameter. The colour of flowers range from white, yellow, pink and red to bicolour. N. nucifera is often confused with the water lily, especially the blue water lily (Nymphaea caerulea)

N. nucifera is considered as sacred by Hindus and Buddhists. It is associated to many Asian divinities who are often represented with the flower or the plant itself. Besides, the lotus is also edible; its stems, leaves and seeds can be consumed raw, cooked or ground into flour.

N. nucifera also has proven antieutrophication properties. Its large leaves reduce sunlight reaching the lower part of the water. Algae growth is subsequently reduced and oxygen content has been observed to be 20 percent higher.

The first specimens of the sacred lotus were introduced to Mauritius in the 18th century under French rule. Local specimens can be found at the Pamplemousses botanic garden, and occasionally in private gardens.

Source: FDC insert and Wikipedia

Technical Details

Date of issue: 18 October 2016
Design: Graphic Dept., the Mauritius Post Ltd
Stamps size: 27.94 x 44.45 mm
Printer: BDT International Security Printing Ltd, Dublin, Ireland
Process: Lithography
Number per sheet: 50 stamps set in two panes of 25 separated by gutter
Watermark: w18  CASCO
Perforation: 14 x 2 cm
Courtesy: Dr Claudia Baider, Mauritius Herbarium for the texts