Sunday, October 10, 2010

Croatian Flora On Stamps. 2006


Croatia Post Office issued the stamps series concerning the Croatian Flora on year 2006. The species that depicted are White Water Lily (Nymphaea alba L), Yellow Water Lily (Nuphar lutea ), and Buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata L.).

White water lily (Nymphaea alba L.) .

The white water lily is a freshwater earth-like perennial without a stem. The rhizome spreading wide into several hard roots is laid horizontally in the muddy underwater soil and sends up shoots from which large, leathery and egg-shaped to circular leaves grow up some 30cm in length.Their subtly sweet-scented radials symmetric flowers are hermaphrodite (they have both male and female organs), individually they are large (up to 20 cm in diameter), open almost the whole day and often rise out of the water.The water lily prefers sunny positions in stagnant and slow-moving waters of Europe, north-western Africa and the Middle East.The Water lily rhizome is sometimes used as food, boiled or fried (as it is rich in starch), and in the First World War it was used as the source of the anaesthetic nymphein. However, this plant has for a very long time been considered to be a highly appreciated decorative plant, so a great number of cultivars have been developed, in various colours and with different sizes of the flowers.The Water lily can be found in watery habitats of Croatia.

Yellow pond-lily (Nuphar lutea L.)

The yellow pond-lily or spatterdock is a freshwater earth-like perennial embedded in the muddy soil by the widely spread thick rhizome (8 cm in diameter), which is the favourite food for many animals. It has no real stem, but the elongated heart-like leaves grow out directly from the long stalk attached to the rhizome. The flowers with their faintly alcoholic fragrance are hermaphrodite (they have both male and female organs), they grow individually and are large (up to 6 cm in diameter), with protruding calyxes with circularly spread-out floral parts.In various cultures the rhizome of the spatterdock was used for medicinal purposes (as poultice to treat boils and abscesses and as an anaphrodisiac) and more rarely as food. The plant likes sunny places in stagnant of slow-moving freshwater.In Croatia it is still a relatively frequent plant.

Buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata L.)

The buckbean is the only species of its genus in the European flora, spread over the cold and temperate Northern Hemisphere.The buckbean blossoms in May and June, and grows on moist and marshy habitats deficient in air, in sunny patches.The buckbean, also called marsh trefoil, is an aquatic or marsh perennial plant with creeping stems overgrown with scaly sheaths of the leaves which turn into a raised leafstalk 50 cm high. The leaves are basal, alternate and trifoliate, on long stalks wider down at the base.. The flowers are regular and hermaphrodite (they have both male and female organs), 10 to 20 in a vertical bloom cluster on top of a stalk. The medicinal properties of the buckbean were highly appreciated in the past as a remedy for scurvy, the dangerous disease which is the consequence of shortage of vitamin C. In Croatia the buckbean is on the list of endangered herbal genera (EN), but is not protected by law.

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