Unusual Plants of Wales

Another special Welsh regional issue, from 2001. In fact this set commemorates both the more unusual wild plants of Wales and the 127th anniversary of the author Huw Puw Caru. He was fascinated by prime numbers, hence the anniversary and the year, and notoriously refused to provide any titles for his stories.

Caru was an unconventional writer whose stories often featured the wild flora of Wales in his weird stories. A limited edition of this stamp set came with edited versions (courtesy of the Caru Foundation) of four of weirder tales that featured the plants on the stamps.

The 2nd class value shows Mentha somniferum, a rare variety of mint that has quite powerful narcotic properties. For this reason officials from the Ministry have attempted to eradicate this herb, yet it still grows in carefully concealed patches. The use it is put to cannot be told here. You will have to read Caru’s story.

The First class stamp shows the Bleeding Virgin or Devils Heart Vine, so named from the shape of its leaves and the viscous red sap that drips profusely from a damaged plant. It has long been associated with the ancient stone circles of Wales. Caru provides an explanation of its names and how they are gruesomely linked.

On the 47 pence value is the Ghost Crocus, a relative of the saffron crocus. This plant is rarely seen in its remaining habitat on the slopes of the mountains of Snowdonia. This is not only because it is rare, but because if the flowers are not viewed full on they appear transparent. Caru weaves a story around this phenomenon.

Lastly the 67 pence stamp features the Graveyard Bindweed, which is quite prolific when it grows in a Welsh cemetery yet will wither and die elsewhere. Caru was firmly of the opinion that when planted on a grave this plant has a special significance, and I for one am not going to disagree with him …. just in case.

This set is unusual in that there are variations on some stamps on each sheet, but some are invisible to the naked eye. The variations are however in line with Caru’s tales.

T164 T164  T165 T165  T166 T166  T167 T167

Unusual Plants of Wales

SK NumberTypeDescription
2361642nd Class Mentha somniferum
236d2nd Class diabolo - cleaver and electric sheep
2371651st Class Dia cardifolia
237d1st Class diabolo - sacrifice and supernatural drips
23816647p Colchicum phantasma
238d47p diabolo - roaming yak and zinging pollen
23916767p Convulvulus consistum
239d67p diabolo - invisible glow

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