The Guelder Rose

It’s “random stamp day” on A Stamp A Day and I happened upon this one from Austria picturing the plant and fruit of Viburnum opulus (common name guelder-rose or, in German, Gewöhnlicher scheneeball). This is a species of flowering plant in the family Adoxaceae (formerly Caprifoliaceae) native to Europe, northern Africa and central Asia. The name ‘guelder rose’ relates to the Dutch province of Gelderland, where a … Continue reading The Guelder Rose


What we know as the kiwifruit (or just kiwi) today was originally known as the Chinese gooseberry, the edible berry of several species of woody vines in the genus Actinidia. The most common cultivar group of kiwifruit (‘Hayward’) is oval, about the size of a large hen’s egg (2.0-3.1 inches or 5–8 cm in length and 1.8-2.2 inches or 4.5–5.5 cm in diameter). It has a … Continue reading Kiwifruit

Sweet Purple Mangosteen

Earlier this month, I stayed at a resort on the west coast of Phuket island, Thailand, as part of a three-day English camp with about 50 students. I think the owners of this particular hotel may have been from Singapore due to the sheer number of “No _____ Allowed” signs with accompanying fines, something not often seen in Thailand. I was particularly puzzled by a … Continue reading Sweet Purple Mangosteen

Yummy Strawberries You Can Smell!

When I first came to Thailand, strawberries were rarely encountered and expensive when found. Now, they are quite common and loved to such a degree that my community recently held a week-long strawberry festival through which I had to walk everyday on my way to work (and I didn’t think to take a single photograph of, not realizing that I’d soon come across today’s stamp … Continue reading Yummy Strawberries You Can Smell!

Barbados Independence Day

On November 30, 1966, after years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados finally became an independent state. Errol Barrow was its first Prime Minister, although Queen Elizabeth II remained the monarch. Upon independence, Barbados maintained historical linkages with Britain by becoming a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. A year later, Barbados’ international linkages were expanded by obtaining membership of both the United Nations and … Continue reading Barbados Independence Day

Penang #46 (1957)

Penang [State of Malaya] #46 (1957)

Formerly a member of the Straits Settlements, the former Crown Colony of Penang — along with the coastal strip known as Province Welleseley — became a state of the Federation of Malaya in 1949. When Malaya achieved its independence from the United Kingdom in 1957, Penang was integrated as part of the federation, which was renamed Malaysia when it merged with the territories 0f British Borneo in 1963. … Continue reading Penang [State of Malaya] #46 (1957)

United States #1317 (1966)

Johnny Appleseed

I recently taught a lesson about heroes of American folklore (yes, some textbooks in Thai schools have completely random readings) that reminded me of the 1966 stamp honoring this legend, who may have just been an ancestor of mine on my mother’s side of the family. John Chapman, often called Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, … Continue reading Johnny Appleseed