January 7, 2014

0920, 0932, 0947 UNITED STATES (Arizona) - Sonoran Desert

Posted on 27.12.2013, 31.12.2013, and 07.01.2014
The Sonoran Desert, one of the largest and hottest deserts in North America, covers large parts of the Southwestern United States and of Northwestern Mexico. It includes 60 mammal species, 350 bird species, 20 amphibian species, over 100 reptile species, 30 native fish species, over 1000 native bee species, and more than 2000 native plant species, among which are some endemic. Many plants not only survive, but thrive in the harsh conditions of the Sonoran Desert. It is the only place in the world where the famous saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea - in the first postcard) grows in the wild. Cholla (Cylindropuntia spp. - in the first postcard), beavertail (Opuntia basilaris - in the third postcard), hedgehog (Echinocereus spp.), fishhook (Ferocactus wislizeni), prickly pear (Opuntia spp.), nightblooming cereus (Peniocereus spp.), and organ pipe (Stenocereus thurberi - in the second postcard) are other taxa of cacti found here.

The saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) is an arborescent cactus species which can grow to be over 20m tall. It is native to the Sonoran Desert, the Whipple Mountains and Imperial County areas of California. Native birds live inside holes in saguaros. Its blossom is the State Wildflower of Arizona. Cholla (Cylindropuntia spp).are native to northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States, and are known for their barbed spines that tenaciously attach to skin, fur, and clothing. The organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) is found in rocky desert, and is susceptible to frost damage which kills the tips of the branches. It can reach a height of 7m. Beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris) is a medium-sized to small prickly pear cactus, growing to about 60 cm tall, found in southwest United States. The pink to rose colored flowers are most common; however, a rare variety of white and even yellow flowers also exist. It bloom from spring to early summer.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0920

The first stamp is part of a series featuring 10 images from vintage flower seed packets. Dating between the years of 1910 and 1920, the antique illustrations were originally created using chromolithography, which replaced laborious and costly hand-tinted lithographs, as it provided means for creating multi-color prints inexpensively. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the booklet. The 10 forever stamps, issued on April 5, 2013, are:
• calendula - It's on the postcard 0920
• cosmos - It's on the postcard 1455
• digitalis - It's on the postcard 1877
• linum - It's on the postcard 2693
• primrose - It's on the postcard 0994
• zinnias
• aster - It's on the postcard 1019
• alyssum - It's on the postcard 1763
• phlox - It's on the postcard 1498
• pinks - It's on the postcard 1593

The second, depicting Spicebush Swallowtail, is part of a definitive series with butterflies, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 0932
The first stamp is one of Wedding series, about which I wrote here. The second is part of the longest running commemorative series in US history, the Black Heritage Series, started in 1978. It depicts Althea Gibson (1927-2003), an American tennis player and professional golfer, the first black athlete of either gender to cross the color line of international tennis, in 1956 becoming the first person of color to win a Grand Slam title (the French Open).

On the postcard 0947
The first stamp is one of Wedding series, about which I wrote here. About the second, which was issued to honors Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, I wrote here.

Sonoran Desert - Wikipedia
Southern North America: Southwestern United States into northwestern Mexico - WWF official website

Sender 0920: Cecilia Northcote (direct swap)
Sent from Sahuarita (Arizona / United States), on 28.05.2013
Photo: Paul Gill
Sender 0932: Denise
Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 23.12.2013
Sender 0947: Denise
Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 23.12.2013

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