2020 55¢ Triphora Trianthophoros (Three Birds Orchid)
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: February 21, 2020
First Day City:
Coral Gables, FL
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Double-sided booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 500,000,000
When most people think of orchids, they think of showy, brightly colored flowers from the tropics. In reality, orchids can be found growing wild in almost every climate around the world.
In the Americas, there is one species of orchid that grows only on the East Coast. Its scientific name is Triphora trianthophoros, but it is most commonly called the "three birds" orchid. This plant is quite small, standing less than one foot tall and producing flowers only about three quarters of an inch in size.
Triphora trianthophoros blooms vary in color depending on subspecies. Some are white, others blue, and still others produce multiple colored flowers on a single plant. The three birds orchid blooms from July to September, but each flower lasts only a few hours. The blossoms on the plant blooms at different times over the course of several days.
The three birds orchid is widespread from Panama in South America all the way north to Ontario, Canada. Despite this, it is rarely seen in much of its range. When there are sightings, it is usually among beech tree forests. The orchid is fairly easy to identify. Its blooms closely resemble the appearance of three birds in flight – the source of its common name. It is amazing to think such a tiny flower can be so complex and beautiful.