Saturday, April 20, 2013

maple trees forever

There are many hundreds of stamps of flowers, but for Earth Day, I thought of showing stamps of trees. 
This weekend there are several communities participating in tree plantings. Some of the beneficial uses of having trees are: 

Help manage storm water ♦ Provide shade & cooling for lower energy costs/use ♦  Lower stress in people ♦  Absorb carbon dioxide to clean the air  ♦  Decrease soil erosion to help keep water supplies pure  ♦   Add beauty and an inviting space for young and old to enjoy   Insure biological diversity  ♦  Increase property value  ♦  Provide habitat for songbirds and other wildlife [from RBG website for tree planting festival]

And after searching high and low for my stamps of maple trees, I finally resorted to using the Canada Post archives for photos, then found a complete set at a stamp show I was at today, so I had to buy it. (I love that there are so many stamp and postcard shows in this area!)
These stamps were issued in 1994 at the domestic rate of .43¢ Designed by Dennis Noble, some artistic licence has been made in order to make the trees stand out since most of these maples would not be seen growing in isolation.

The Red Maple is the most common and widespread of the deciduous trees in eastern North America from Northern Ontario/Minnesota to Newfoundland and down to Florida and Texas. It can reach a height of 49' with roots as much as 82' long and everything from its flowers, petioles (the stalk of the leaf that attaches the blade to the stem), twigs and seeds are all red. And, of course, there is that brilliant scarlet red of the autumn leaves. It is mostly an ornamental tree and because it can withstand a wide variety of harsh conditions it is excellent for use in urban settings.

Whereas the red maple is a softwood tree and not best suited for maple syrup or lumber, the Sugar Maple is a hardwood tree native to the northeastern part of North America from Nova Scotia to Southern Ontario down to Georgia and Texas. It can reach heights of well over 80'. It can grow in almost any kind of soil and is also among the most shade tolerant of the large deciduous trees. It is also a very prolific seed producer and also engages in something called hydraulic lift, or redistribution, where the roots draw water from lower moist soil and redistributes it to upper drier soil which benefits not only the tree itself, but the other plants that grow nearby. 
However, the sugar maple is is not salt tolerant and as a result of the increased use of salt as a de-icer on our roads, it is declining in many areas and, especially in urban areas is being displaced by the Norway Maple. 
This tree is an invasive species from eastern and central Europe. It has become a favourite street tree because of its tolerance for poor and compact soil and for pollution. Purists do not like that this tree has become so prevalent partly because nothing will grow beneath its canopy as the roots grow close to the soil surface and starve other plants of moisture. 

Although a stylized [sugar] maple leaf appears on our flag, no maple trees actually grow beyond the rockies, so it is not a truly national tree. This point irks many out in BC and Yukon.


  1. But I think we do have SOME maple trees here in BC. At least there are some that LOOK like they're from the maple family (I know next to nothing about tree species). So I, for one, am not irked. Not about maple trees, at least.

    1. yes, you do have some maples - but not the lovely sugar maple that is on the flag. glad you are not irked

    2. I hadn't realised that some people were upset about using the maple on the flag. That's a shame. I suspect many countries have a 'national' plant that only really grows in certain areas.

  2. I love the stamps and no wonder you had to buy the set. I'm jealous that you have so many shows in your area. We have about five postcard fairs a year - that's all.

  3. I think it's one of the most attractive and distinctive flags in the world.
    Lovely set of stamps, by the way. I used to collect them, but have found art-making takes up all my time now. Am reduced to purchasing first day covers these days.

  4. What a wonderfully cheery sheet of stamps, I like the miniature landscape at the top. Who knew that some Canadians are irked by the maple leaf, too funny, its a great flag.

  5. I do believe that Norway Maple is what we have on our front yard..yes, the roots ARE close to the surface but shade grass grows well under it. A lovely collection of stamps.

  6. What a stunning mini-sheet and set, absolutely lovely. You're lucky to have good stamp and postcard fairs in your area, where I live the numbers have diminished in recent years, hopefully just a temporary downturn that will pick up again.

  7. I just love the illustrations on the stamps, specially the lighthouse (my favourite theme). These trees are magnificent! I saw some of them in Quebec, but I can't assure which one.

  8. Yes, your first individual stamp has a lighthouse! Double score!
    I've never gone to a postcard/stamp show - I've never even looked for one in my area. Will have to remedy that.
    Thank you for participating!

  9. I wish I can have this sheet to keep for myself!

  10. what a beautiful set! also convenient for the arbor day :)

  11. Simply gorgeous stamps and great info! I particularly love the Canadian Sheet :)
    Keep smiling and Keep Shinning!


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