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06 August 2002
10/2002
Joint Issue

Diplomatic Relations 1952-2002 - Australia-Thailand Joint Issue

Australia
This joint issue celebrates 50 years of formal diplomatic relations between Australia and Thailand. Waterlilies are found in both countries and the flower

Nymphaea immutabilis  

Nymphaea immutabilis

:

Nymphaea immutabilis grows in northern Australia, close to the coast right across the top down to the Tropic of Capricorn on the east coast. Currently there is no common name for this species.

The young Nymphaea fruit is pulled beneath the surface by the coiling flower stalk and develops underwater into a spongy berry with many seeds that are enclosed in arils. When ripe, up to 2000 seeds are released from each fruit.

Young seeds float because the arils contain air pockets. The seeds are then dispersed by water currents or by water birds that eat them. As the arils become waterlogged, the seeds sink into the mud to germinate that same year or wait for the next wet season floods.

The seeds generally only live for a year or two. The plant also sometimes spreads by sprouting from the bulbs. The flat round leaves have a waxy water-repellent upper side. The underside, however, seems to cling to the water by surface tension.

Nelumbo nucifer  

Nelumbo nucifer

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With a symmetrical, exquisitely beautiful flower, Nelumbo nucifera, commonly known as the East Indian lotus or sacred lotus, is an aquatic perennial native to northern Australia, Papua New Guinea and South-East Asia and grows in lowland wetlands. In Australia it has been recorded down to the New South Wales/Queensland border. Large, fragrant deep-pink flowers appear between March and November.

The Nelumbo (lotus) fruit develops well above the water as a large spongy capsule containing several loose hard-coated seeds. The young seeds are a favoured food in many cultures and the dry spongy fruit is popular in dried flower arrangements. As the fruit matures it nods over and free seeds gradually drop and sink. They may stay buried in the mud for many decades, or even a hundred years in dried mud, before germinating.

The plant also spreads by sprouting from the prickly creeping rhizome, also a valued part of many Asian cuisines. The leaves develop at the height of the wet season but the prickly leaf stalks are stiff, and the leaves are left standing above the water as the level drops.

The flowers are produced among the leaves and stand clear of the water. The classical symmetrical lotus bud only lasts a day or two before the flower becomes bedraggled.

Technical Information

Issue date......................6 August 2002
Denominations ..............One x 45c, one x $1.00
Designer ......................Thaneth Ponchaiwong, Communications Authority of Thailand Philatelic Department
Printer ..........................SNP Ausprint
Paper ..........................De La Rue SH8
Stamp size (all) .............. 37.5 x 26 mm
Perforations (all) ............13.86 x14.6
Miniature sheet size ......106 x 70 mm
Sheet layout ..................Sheets of 50, two panes of 25
Printing process ............Lithography
National postmark ..........Watergardens VIC 3038
copyright notice: This material has been reproduced with permission of the Australian Postal Corporation. The original work is held in the National Philatelic Collection.
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