World Stamps

Spring blossoms on British post & go labels

Jan 31, 2014, 3 AM

New postage labels from Great Britain feature flowers that bloom in spring, including the dog violet.

Great Britain’s Royal Mail will introduce a new series of floral-themed pictorial computer-produced self-adhesive postage labels this year.

Royal Mail calls these labels “post & go.” The denominations are printed at the time of purchase.

The first set featuring spring blooms will be issued Feb. 19.

The label picturing the dog violet (Viola riviniana) is shown nearby. The purple flowers of this violet brighten up forests, heaths, hedgerows and grasslands throughout Great Britain from April through June, according to the charity association Wildlife Trusts.

Royal Mail says of this and the other five flowers: “Springtime flowers mark the most profound change from the chilled depths of winter to the rebirth of spring. Every year, no matter how harsh the winter, spring flowers appear, sometimes peeking through the snow, reminding us that a new season beckons. As well as being a source of great joy and injecting colour into the countryside, these plants are vital sources of food for animals that hibernate over winter in the UK.”

One of the earliest blooming flowers in the Spring Blooms set is the snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis), which can flower in January, according to Royal Mail. Although this white flower with green tips on the inner petals appears delicate, it is hardy with natural antifreeze proteins.

Another white flower in the set, the blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), blossoms in late March. This thorny shrub is a common sight in the hedgerows of the United Kingdom, according to Royal Mail.

Blackthorn berries, known as sloes, are harvested in the autumn.

The remaining three labels show yellow flowers: the primrose (Primua vulgaris), lesser celandine (Ranunuculs ficaris) and the wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus).

The name primrose is from the Latin for first rose, although it is not a rose. Plant-rose, a British organization devoted to wild flowers, reports that the primrose flowers from March to May in “woodland clearings, hedgebanks, waysides and open grassland preferring damp, clayey soils.”

The flowers of the lesser celandine reportedly bloom each year on Feb. 21, and this member of the buttercup family can continue to bloom through May.

The wild daffodil serves as an emblem of Wales. In the wild, its yellow trumpet flowers appear from February through April.

Kate Stephens designed the Spring Blooms postage labels, using illustrations by botanical artist Julia Trickey. In addition, the Arnold Machin portrait of Queen Elizabeth II appears at upper right on each label.

The preprinted elements of the labels were produced by Walsall using the gravure process. Each label measures 56 millimeters by 25mm.

Royal Mail will issue two other sets in this series featuring wild flowers and plants: a set on Sept. 17 picturing flowers with symbolic meaning and a set on Nov. 13 focusing on winter greenery.

Previous sets of pictorial postage labels featured freshwater life (2013), farm animals (2012) and birds (2010 and 2011).

The postage labels are available from terminals in almost 150 post office branches throughout the United Kingdom. The terminals allow customers to weigh their letters and packages, pay the postage and print the appropriate label.

For more information, contact Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9PB, Scotland; or visit http://shop.