Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis
Date of Issue
July 6, 1978
Wildflowers of Canada
Series Time Span
1977 - 1979
Perforation or Dimension
13 x 13.5
British American Bank Note Company.
Designed by Heather J. Cooper.
Celebrated for its colour, form and fragrance, the flower is a universal symbol of beauty. Flowers are an important part of the environmental definitive series which also features street scenes and trees. There are at least 3,000 flowering plant species. Standing at the apex of the plant kingdom, they have evolved beyond the non-flowering mosses, ferns and seaweeds. A plant's beauty begins in the soil. In dry climates some species send down roots more than 120 feet. Even seemingly short roots sometimes turn out to be almost a mile long when one measures the offshoots. Green plants provide food and oxygen for humanity. The ancients greatly admired flowers. Confucius stated that every cultured man should know how to cultivate them. The markets of Athens and Rome sold them. In search of elegance, Romans sometimes added chopped violets to a salad or ate stewed roses for dessert. Had the custom continued, some entrepreneur would now be serving them with mustard and ketchup on a sesame seed bun. Medieval Europeans grew flowers for medicine and food seasonings. The arrival of flowers from the New World and of the tulip from Turkey stimulated interest in floriculture. During the tulip craze of 1634-37 in the Netherlands, for example, single bulbs sold for as much as 2,600 guilders. The new 12¢ definitive portrays "Impatiens capensis", known in English as the jewelweed or touch-me-not. Its ripe seed pods explode at the slightest touch, blasting seeds in all directions. This habit gave rise to the name "touch-me-not". The inch-long flowers hang by slender pendant stalks, thus accounting for the word "jewelweed". The plant grows rankly to a height of five or six feet, flowering from June to September. It thrives in a roadside ditches, shady river banks, lake margins, moist woods and other wet, shaded places. A member of the balsam family, Impatiens capensis appears from Newfoundland to Alaska. With this delicate illustration of the jewelweed, artist Heather Cooper of Toronto continues the flower series of low-value definitive stamps.
Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1978.
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