What a wonderful surprise! I walked into our local post office today asking for a book of flower stamps. I was shown the “usual suspects” of rose love stamps and the cactus stamps. And then, the clerk brought out the newest stamps—a book of winter berries. They're beautifully designed and seasonally perfect.
The book has four different winter berries, each perfectly executed: Juniper Berry, Winter Berry, Beauty Berry, and Soap Berry. After using a few, I became curious about each of these seasonal berries. So, a quick check found these few bits of information:
Winter Berries: Ilex verticillata, is a holly, native to eastern North America in the US and Southern Canada. It's a dioecious plant—one that has separate male and female plants and is fast-growing.
Soap Berry: Shephercia canadensus: is in the Oleaster family. It's found in most of Northern and Western North America. Here, in our area, it can be found inland and is most happy in dry, moist open woods with rocky or sandy soils.
Juniper Berry: Is the female seed cone produced by various specious of Junipers. The cones from a handful of species are used as a spice—especially in European cuisine and is what gives gin its distinctive flavor. It may be the only spice derived from conifers.
Beauty Berry: Callicarpa americana: grows 3-5 feet tall—often as tall as 9 feet. It's a deciduous shrub found in the Southeast US. While the foliage is not spectacular, it's known for it's one remarkable feature—the bright purple berries that grow around the plants stems in plump clusters.
It would have been great if some information about these wonderful berries could have been printed on the stamp packet—but, how grand that the postal service has featured them and we have these beautiful stamps to use. I think they'll be getting everyone's “stamp of approval”!