The U.S. Postal Service recognizes Americans’ love for tulips with the release of the Tulip Blossoms Forever stamps. A dedication ceremony for the stamps was held today at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, OR.
“A gift of tulips can convey an array of meanings — love, friendship, gratitude and congratulations — just as these tulip-themed stamps make a perfect accessory to any mailing,” said Linda Malone, USPS engineering systems vice president, who served as the dedicating official.
Americans love tulips, but these spectacular flowers have roots in Central Asia. Traded along the Silk Road, they were first cultivated in 10th-century Persia and, by the 16th century, were all the rage in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey). In fact, “tulip” derives from a Turkish version of the Persian word for “turban,” an allusion to the flower’s shape. After diplomats in Constantinople shipped bulbs home to western Europe, the Dutch developed effective ways to cultivate and market the flower. The tulip trade remains an important part of their nation’s economy 400 years later.
Dutch immigrants brought tulip bulbs to America, perhaps as early as the 1600s. The flower has become a dazzling part of the landscape here, and the United States now imports more than 1 billion bulbs per year. Tulips can be grown in most of the country, outside of the Deep South, and gardeners can choose among thousands of varieties.
Greg Breeding, an art director for USPS, designed the stamps with existing photographs by Denise Ippolito. Ippolito photographed the 10 different tulips in gardens and parks she encountered while traveling. A single flower, shot in close-up, fills almost the entire frame of each stamp, with just the top of the stem showing. The tulips are various shades of yellow, orange, pink, green and violet.
Tulip Blossoms will be issued as Forever stamps in booklets of 20, as well as coils of 3,000 and 10,000.
News of the Tulip Blossoms stamps is being shared with the hashtag #TulipBlossomsStamps.