2020 55¢ Wild Orchids
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: February 21, 2020
First Day City:
Coral Gables, FL
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Coil of 3,000 OR Coil of 10,000
Quantity Printed: 15,000,000 OR 50,000,000
North America is home to approximately 200 native orchid species. They grow wild across the country and can be hard to spot, especially in swamps, bogs, and wetlands.
In 2020, the United States Postal Service issued a set of 10 new Forever stamps picturing wild orchids of America. They showcased nine different species: the three birds (pictured twice), California lady's slipper, crested coralroot, showy lady's slipper, marsh lady's tresses, eastern prairie fringed, greater purple fringed, grass pink, and yellow cowhorn orchids. Each is a beautiful wildflower most people do not get the opportunity to see. They are all hard to find today.
All orchid species are vulnerable to environmental changes and habitat loss. This is because they depend on specific animals and fungi to survive. Most species are found only in wetlands, which are quickly disappearing. One organization working to protect and restore native orchids is the North American Orchid Conservation Center. It is jointly operated by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the US Botanic Garden. With their nationwide work, there is hope for our native wild orchids yet.
It may be tempting to dig up a wild orchid, but this is the last thing you should do. They are very sensitive to change, and in order to preserve them for future generations, it is important to look, not touch. You will appreciate the beauty and wonder of wild orchids even more knowing the only way to enjoy them is by getting out and exploring nature.