U.S. # 4750
2013 46¢ Hibiscus
Also known as the “Queen of the Tropics,” the hibiscus is a flowering perennial that grows in Florida’s wet soil habitats, usually along streams and marshes. And while Ponce de León and his crew almost certainly appreciated its beauty, it is unlikely they saw the hibiscus until they left their ship. That is because the plant cannot tolerate saltwater, either in a spray carried by ocean breezes or groundwater.
Hibiscus are members of the flowering plant family known as mallow, which includes cotton, okra, and cacao. Hibiscus flowers provide a riot of brilliant color and can be found in every color except true blue or black. The scarlet rose mallow, comfort root, and swamp rose varieties are native to Florida. All others are believed to have originated in China and had been introduced to Florida centuries ago by explorers and merchants traveling through the South Pacific and Hawaii.
In some cultures, single women tuck hibiscus flowers behind an ear to signal their availability for marriage. This takes some planning, as the flowers open early in the morning and wilt in the afternoon. To save a picked flower for evening use, you must pick it immediately after it opens and refrigerate it until nightfall.
Ethel Kessler designed the La Florida stamps using artwork created by Steve Buchanan. The stamps were designed to stand as separate images and work together as one. According to Kessler, Buchanan “brought the subjects together beautifully and broke them apart beautifully.”
Value: 46¢ First-Class letter rate
Issued: April 3, 2013 – 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s naming of Florida
First Day City: St. Augustine, FL at the Juan Ponce de Leon Dia de Fiesta
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Method: Photogravure printing in sheets of 160, in 10 panes of 16
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 10 ½ x 10 ¾
Quantity Printed: 23,000,000 stamps
In a poll among readers of Linn’s Stamp News, the La Florida se-tenant was voted the best-design U.S. commemorative stamps.