Succulent plants occur through most regions in Australia and in every state and territory. They can be found in coastal, inland, temperate, subtropical and tropical environments and prefer seasonally dry or semi-arid conditions. While the popular conception of these plants is that they are “ground covers” or low-growing, this group also includes orchids, hoyas, shrubs and even the boab, or the bottle tree.
About 400 of the 20,000 or so vascular plants native to Australia are considered succulent and have adapted to dry conditions over thousands of years by evolving the capacity for water storage in the tissue of their leaves, stems, trunks or roots. While there is some debate as to what defines “succulence”, besides water-storing capacity, two criteria for a plant to be considered a succulent are the ability to withstand long periods of dry without severe leaf loss and the ability to not only survive but continue to grow with minimal food, water and care.
The four domestic-rate ($1) stamps were designed by Melbourne-based Janet Boschen Design and feature the following species:
- Portulaca cyclophylla (Western Australia);
- Tecticornia verrucosa (Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia);
- Calandrinia creethae (Western Australia); and
- Gunniopsis quadrifida (Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and NSW).
The four succulent species featured in the stamp designs are endemic to Australia. The designs show two aspects of each species—the foliage and the flower.
Released on June 20, the succulent issue is available in strips of four stamps; gutter strips of 10 stamps; booklets of 10 stamps; rolls of 100 stamps; and chequebooks of 20 booklets with 10 stamps each.