1996 32¢ Pansy
Winter Garden Flowers
Issue Date: January 19, 1996
City: Kennett Square, PA
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
Perforations: 10.9 vertical
A descendant of the johnny-jump-up, the pansy’s transformation from a small wildflower to the popular garden flower was largely due to the dedicated efforts of an English gardener named Thompson. Experimenting with the johnny-jump-up for thirty years, he eventually created a flower that retained the charm of the wildflower, but had the size and beauty to please even the most selective gardener.
According to German folklore, the pansy at one time had a wonderful scent, which attracted people from miles around. As a result, the grass surrounding the pansy would become trampled down, thus ruining a source of food for livestock. In desperation the pansy prayed for help, and so God took away its magnificent scent, and instead gave the pansy great beauty.
Throughout the ages, the pansy has always been associated with love. Legend has it that at one time all pansies were white until they were pierced by cupid’s bow. Besides giving them their purple and yellow colors, this also gave pansies magical powers, causing them to be used in love potions. In fact, the name pansy comes from the French word pensée, meaning “thought.” No doubt this stems from the belief that pansies would bring thoughts of one’s sweetheart to mind.