Cacti are part of the Cactaceae family, which contains over 4000 species. The word “káktos” comes from the Greek language and means a spiky plant. Due to the storage of water in tissues, cacti are also known as “green camel”.
Chamaecereus silvestrii (Speg.) Britton & Rose is a species illustrated on the postage stamp with the face value of Lei 2.40.
Popular name: Peanut cactus
General information: It is a cactus native to Argentina (Tucuman) where it grows in desert or dry scrubland areas.
Description: the stems are light green, with 8-10 ribs, and can reach a spread of 15 cm, but are usually no more than 10 cm tall. The areoles have 10-15 brittle, brown spines. The funnel-shaped flowers are red-orange, about 5-7 cm long. They appear in late spring-early summer and are often numerous on the stems.
Mammillaria beneckei C.Ehrenb. is a species reproduced on the postage stamp with the face value of Lei 3.10.
Popular name: Benecke’s Nipple Cactus
General information: It is a native species in western and central Mexico, where it reaches altitudes of about 1600 m. It grows in deciduous forests in association with other xerophytes and succulents.
Description: Solitary plants at first, then form groups up to 50 cm in diameter. Stems are globose elongate, green to brownish green, 5-10 cm tall, 5-7 cm diameter, with conical, tuberculate nipples; spines 12-15, 8-12 mm long. The flowers are large, yellow-orange, 3 cm in diameter, opening in the evening. The fruits are red.
Acanthocalycium spiniflorum (K.Schum.) Backeb. Is a specied depicted on the postage stamp with the face value of Lei 3.50.
General information: Also known as Echinocactus spiniflorus, the species is native to Argentina, where it is widespread and locally abundant. It grows in mountainous regions reaching up to about 2400 m altitude. It prefers sub-shrubby habitats on stony soils in areas with cold periods over winter.
Description: Solitary or slightly branched plant, the stem is usually up to 15 cm, spherical to slightly cylindrical, can reach up to 60 cm high and 15 cm diameter, with 16-20 ribs, pale to dark green. The areoles have 10-20 spines, yellowish, 0.5-4 cm. The flowers are pinkish-white, 4 cm in diameter, tubular, with a spiny base (hence the name spiniflorum). The fruits are globose, about 1 cm in diameter.
Opuntia gosseliniana F.A.C.Weber is a species illustrated on the postage stamp with the face value of Lei 22.
Popular name: Santa Rita prickly pear, Violet prickly pear
General information: The species is also known as Opuntia santa-rita or Opuntia violacea var. santa-rita. Natively, it grows in the desert regions of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Sonora, Mexico, at about 700-1600 m altitude, on sandy or stony soils.
Description: succulent, richly branched shrub or small tree with a short, straight trunk, up to 2 m tall, 3 m diameter.
It’s a very attractive species with flat, round, reddish or
purplish ear-like branches, especially in the young stages and when temperatures drop in winter. The areoles have yellowish glochids (bristles) and sparse spines on old branches.
The flowers are yellow on branch tips; they appear in
spring-summer. The fruits are red-violet, juicy and edible.
Romfilatelia would like to thank the representatives of the “Dimitrie Brandza” Botanical Garden of the University of Bucharest for their expert consultancy and Mrs. Elisabeta Popescu for her photographic support within this postage stamps issue.