U.S. # 4753
2013 46¢ Passionflowers
Centuries ago, Native Americans domesticated the passionflower for several uses. The fruits were eaten raw or boiled to make a syrup. By crushing the fruit, they made juice that was sometimes thickened with flour or cornmeal. The plant’s young shoots and leaves were cooked with other greens, and the roots were used to treat boils and wounds.
Tea made from the passionflower’s roots was used to soothe babies during the weaning process. Infusions were made to treat liver problems in adults, and the plant was also used as a sedative to treat insomnia, hysteria, and other nervous conditions.
Europeans exploring southeastern portions of the Americas took the passionflower home, where it now grows throughout the continent. Scientists believe Native Americans were right about the plant’s healing powers. Passionflowers increase levels of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric (GABA) in the brain, which lowers the activity of some brain cells and leaves people feeling more relaxed.
Passionflowers were given their name by Spanish explorers who thought their features were symbolic of the death of Christ. To them, the five petals and five sepals represented the disciples without Peter and Judas, while the colored filaments signified Christ’s crown of thorns.
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.