2020 55¢ Cyrtopodium Polyphyllum (Yellow Cowhorn Orchid)
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: Double-sided booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 500,000,000
Orchids are found growing wild across the United States. Each species faces its own set of challenges, but the most difficult obstacle for these flowers to overcome is habitat destruction.
Florida is home to nearly 100 species of wild orchids. Unfortunately, the draining of wetlands and increased urbanization threatens their survival. One such genus having an especially hard time is Cyrtopodium. Known as "cowhorn" or "cigar orchids," they do not grow in soil, but instead require native tree bark with a specific fungus.
The two main species of Cyrtopodium in Florida are Cyrtopodium polyphyllum (the "yellow cowhorn" orchid) and Cyrtopodium punctatum (the "cigar" or "bee-swarm" orchid). The bee-swarm orchid is native to the state, while the yellow cowhorn is originally from Brazil, but has been naturalized in south Florida.
Today, scientists and volunteers are working to replant wild orchids in Florida. Since these flowers are notoriously difficult to grow in the wild or at home, scientists propagate them from seed in their labs. Once the seedlings grow to a certain size, they are handed out to community volunteers. The orchids are then planted where they have the best chance at survival. Together, scientists and community members hope to restore this small piece of Florida's natural beauty.