2020 55¢ Spiranthes Odorata (Marsh Lady's Tresses 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
Most orchids grow similarly to other flowers, with one or more stems coming out of the ground and a bloom or two on each. But not all orchids grow this way...
The orchid genus Spiranthes
features a number of species that grow in a spiral around a single spike. One of the most well-known, and also world-renowned, is Spiranthes odorata
, or "Chadds Ford." Commonly called "marsh lady's tresses," the flowers of this orchid are small and usually white in color. It grows wild in marshes, swamps, bogs, and other wetland habitats.
The scientific name of marsh lady's tresses comes from the Greek speira
, meaning "coil" or "spiral," and anthos
, meaning "flower." Odorata
means "fragrant" and is a nod to the orchid's sweet scent – a cross between vanilla and jasmine.
'Chadd's Ford' is known for its beauty and relatively easy propagation (for an orchid). In fact, it was awarded the UK's Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. This makes this species especially impressive because it had to pass the society's strict year-long field trials, in addition to other requirements.
The marsh lady's tresses may grow in environments most people consider unpleasant, but that makes it all the more beautiful and extraordinary.