For the first time in Israel scented stamps ! Using a unique printing technique, a different scent was integrated into each stamp.
Flowers accompany our lives at every turn, from birth to old age. They are used in gardening as well as for food, decoration, ceremonies and many other purposes. Some 2,500 species of wild flowering plants grow in Israel, as well as thousands of species and varieties of cultivated plants - cut flowers, garden plants, food crops and medicinal plants, ornamental trees and more. All cultivated plants originate from wild plants. Cultivation of plants began in our area some 15,000 years ago and it continues to this day.
The Cyclamen persicum is a common wildflower in Israel, foundfrom Mount Hermon in the north and as far south as the southern Hebron Mountains. The rare Cyclamen coum also grows wild in Israel, on Mount Meron, in the northern Golan Heights and on Mount Hermon.
Some 20 wild Cyclamen species exist in the world, from Somalia in Africa to Central Europe, mostly in the Middle East and southwest Asia. Cyclamen persicum is the largest of the Cyclamen species and it is the species from which the cultivated Cyclamen was derived.
Cyclamen persicum mainly grows among rocks, but also in other places. The plants may grow singlely or at times create dense carpets. Either way, they are breathtaking.
The Cyclamen's shape - the flower is turned downward, apparently to protect its pollen from the rain, and the heart-shaped leaves which have a unique color pattern for each plant - differentiate it from all the other wild flowers in Israel and grant it a very attractive appearance. Because of its beauty, the Cyclamen used to be picked in large quantities, causing the populations to dwindle. Thus, it is now among the protected wildflowers of Israel.
The Cyclamen has many popular uses: the leaves may be stuffed or eaten cooked in salads, the (poisonous) bulb is used as a "soap" and it was used for illegal fishing in the past as well as for medicinal purposes.
The Cyclamen was recently chosen as Israel's "National Flower".
The rose is the oldest cultivated flower in the world. Archeological excavations in Iran unearthed relieves depicting cultivated roses (multi-petaled) dating to the eighth century BCE, in other words, some 2,800 yearsago.
Not only is the rose the most ancient cultivated flower in the world, it also has the largest number of cultivated varieties. Many thousands exist today and additional new varieties are constantly being developed. The rose was independently cultivated in at least two different geographical areas: the Far East (from the wild species Rosa sinensis) and the Mediterranean basin (from the wild species Rosa canina - Dog Rose, which also grows wild in Israel). Some of the cultivated varieties were developed from a single wild species, while others are hybrids. All wild species have just five petals, while most of the cultivated varieties have multiple petals.
Three rose species are indigenous plants of Israel Rosa cnina, R. phoenicia and R. pulverulenta. Some 150 species of wild roses exist in all, mainly in the northern hemisphere.
The rose is widely thought of as the "King of Flowers". It accompanies and decorates the ceremonies and holidays of our lives from birth to death and also represents a gesture of love. Paintings of roses, rose patterns and the symbol of the rose surround us everywhere we look.
Hagar Leschner, Botanist