Through the years since the first
definitive issue of Pitcairn stamps was released in 1940, the philately of Pitcairn
Island has enjoyed a much-sought-after status among stamp collectors throughout
Pitcairn Islands Botanic
The flora of the Pitcairn Islands consists of 81 species, of which 10 are endemic. IUNC Red List threat categories show that over 60% of the indigenous flora is threatened within the Island, and over 20% is threatened globally.
The main threats affecting the flora and vegetation are posed by habitat clearance, spread of invasive species such as Rose Apple Syzygium jumbos, small population sizes of restricted distribution, erosion, and lack of fruit-eating birds. Addressing these threats by means of a system of nature reserves, species-specific recovery plans and control of invasive species and erosion will start to combat these problems. The Island Council is aware of these concerns and is working on corrective measures.
This stamp issue focuses on a small sample of Pitcairn taxa and shows a cross section from the very rare to the abundant:
Cerbera manghas, also known as the sea mango, is an evergreen coastal tree growing up 12 m tall and often associated with mangrove forests. With shiny dark-green leaves the species exhibits five-lobed white fragrant flowers up to 5 cm in diameter. The fruits are egg-shaped, 5 to 10 cm long, and turn bright red at maturity. Distribution is natural and occurs from the Seychelles to French Polynesia.
Portulace lutea is a prostrate, perennial, succulent herb. With wide distribution from New Caledonia eastward to Pitcairn Island, it is found in coastal areas from sea level to around 40 meters. The leaves are oval to round and range in size up to 3 cms. One to three yellow flowers are borne at the ends of the stems.
Canna sp. grows on Pitcairn to a height of 1-2M and has bright yellow-orange flowers with large broad-bladed solid green leaves. The plants are large tropical and subtropical perennial herbs and bear a striking resemblance to gladiolas. The name Canna originates from the Celtic word for a cane or reed.
Chamaesyce sparrmannii is extremely rare on Pitcairn with just one plant being found in sheltered crevices of basalt coastal rocks of Bounty Bay and a few more samples in the west of the Island. The plant exhibits a prostrate form and is distinguished by minute red pollen tips on the stamen which protrude from tiny white flowers.
Coprosma benefica or Red Berry as it is known on Pitcairn, is one of the nine plants endemic to the Island. The genius Coprosma totals around 108 species and is found from New Zealand to Hawaii and from Borneo to Pitcairn. C.benefica is a small tree with reasonably large evergreen leaves. The flowers have insignificant petals and are wind-pollinated, with long spidery anthers. The fruit is a non-poisonous jucy berry containing two small seeds. Coprosma is related to the coffee plant.
Pandanus tectorius is well-known for its distinctive trunk and root system. Growing up to 12M in height, the single trunk forks at a height of 4-8M and is propped up by roots that firmly anchor the tree to the ground. With long (1-1.5M) leaves, P. Tectorius exhibits different male and female flowers. Male flowers are small, fragrant and form clusters. They are short lived, lasting only a single day. The fruit is oval in shape and is made up of wedge-like phalanges, which have an outer fibrous husk. Pandanus on Pitcairn is prevalent to the north and east.
Technical details: The designer of the stamps is Sue Wickison, Wellington, New Zealand. The printer of the stamps is Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand. The printing process used for the stamps is Offset Litho. The stamp size is 30.0 mm x 45.18 mm. The perforation gauge is 14.00 x 14.167. The denominations of the stamps are $0.20, $1.00, $1.80, $2.00, $2.10 and $3.00. The paper on which the stamps are printed is 103gsm Tullis Russell phosphor gummed paper. The period of sale for the stamps is June 12, 2014 for a period of two years. Acknowledgment: The Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau is very grateful for the excellent contribution of Kerry Young which made this challenging stamp issue possible.
Pitcairn Stamp Issues
(Click small stamp
images to see larger views.)
Below is a listing of all Pitcairn stamps issued since 1940 when Pitcairn Island began issuing its own stamps