Australia 2003 Australian Cultivars

From Stamps of the World
Australia 2003 Australian Cultivars a.jpg
  • Issue Date: 25 March 2003
  • Designed by: Beth McKinlay
  • Printed by: SNP Sprint
  • Print Process: Lithography
  • Stamp size: 26mm x 37.5mm


Australians have long been enthusiastic gardeners. Early settlers introduced plants popular in Europe, such as roses and camellias, to remind them of ‘home’, and the country’s vivid indigenous flowers also found an appreciative audience. Today most home gardens in Australia combine introduced and native flowering plants. Despite the continent’s reputation for harsh, unforgiving environments, its diversity of climates and soils mean that almost any plant can be (and probably is) grown somewhere in Australia.

When selecting plants, modern gardeners look for more than just beauty. They demand plants that are hearty, disease resistant and easy to grow, no matter what colour their thumb. Whether they realise it or not, today’s gardeners owe much of their success to the availability of Australian cultivars. Five Australian flower cultivars are featured in this special issue of five stamps. The stamps feature Simon Griffiths’ superb photographs of the five cultivars. Each of the cultivars was photographed at the peak of its blooming period.

The cultivars in the stamp issue were specifically bred to produce spectacular blooms on hardy, disease resistant plants suitable for home cultivation. All are entirely Australian bred, and are widely available through commercial nurseries. Three of the featured Australian cultivars are from introduced species, the remaining two are natives.


Sheet Stamps

  • Perforations:14¾ x 14
  • Format: sheetlet of 10

‘Hari Withers’ Camellia

The ethereal ‘Hari Withers’ camellia was bred by Dr. R. M. Withers of Victoria and named in honour of his wife. Flowers average nine cm in diameter and appear mid-season on a fast-growing, upright and spreading plant. Described as formal double in style, they are very pale pink gradating to a deeper pink rosebud at the centre. ‘Hari Withers’ was registered in 1985 and is a Camellia x williamsii hybrid.

50c ‘Hari Withers’ Camellia

‘Victoria Gold’ Rose

‘Victoria Gold’ was bred by Eric Welsh (Erina, NSW) and released in 1999 to commemorate the centenary of the Victorian Rose Society. ‘Victoria Gold’ is a floribunda (cluster-flowered) plant 60 to 90 cm in height. It produces double bright yellow blooms with red margining of the petals in the cooler months.

50c ‘Victoria Gold’ Rose

‘Superb’ Grevillea

‘Superb’ is one of the most popular and widely available grevillea cultivars. Bred in Queensland by Merv Hodge and released in 1981, ‘Superb’ is a cross between Queensland species Grevillea banksii and Western Australian species Grevillea bipinnatifida. ‘Superb’ is a bushy, medium-sized shrub with large racemes of striking pinkish-yellow flowers that age to a deep pink. ‘Superb’ flowers throughout the year and attracts honey-eating birds.

50c ‘Superb’ Grevillea

‘Bush Tango’ Kangaroo Paw

In the 1970s Dr Mervyn Turner, Melbourne, developed the Bush Gem range of kangaroo paw from the Anigozanthos species. The plants in this range were hardy, disease-resistant and able to grow in all but the most hot and humid parts of Australia. ‘Bush Tango’ was bred by Yates Botanicals from four species of Anigozanthos: A. flavidus, A. humilis, A. onycis and A. preissii, and released commercially in 2000. It grows to 1.2 m tall and is characterised by its bright orange flower.

50c ‘Bush Tango’ Kangaroo Paw

‘Midnight’ Rhododendron

Australian gardeners were creating hybrid rhododendrons as early as the 1860s. The beautiful rhododendron ‘Midnight’ was bred in 1978 by Karel Van de Ven of Olinda, Victoria. An open growing, vigorous plant, ‘Midnight’ has large, magenta-rose, frilly blooms with a prominent black ‘eye’ in the middle of each flower. Trusses have around sixteen flowers. ‘Midnight’ a cross between the hybrids ‘Cup Day’ and ‘Purple Splendour’ is also a success overseas, where it can be found growing in British and American gardens.

50c ‘Midnight’ Rhododendron

Se-tenant Strip

Se-tenant strip of 5 x 50c

Self-adhesive Stamps

  • Perforations: 11½ x 11¼
  • Formats: booklets of 10 and coils of 100

Single Stamps

50c ‘Hari Withers’ Camellia
50c ‘Victoria Gold’ Rose
50c ‘Superb’ Grevillea
50c ‘Bush Tango’ Kangaroo Paw
50c ‘Midnight’ Rhododendron

Coil Strip

Coil strip of 5 x 50c


$5 booklet cover
Booklet pane of 10 x 50c

First Day Covers

The first day of issue postmark was Flowerpot TAS 7163.

First day cover - sheet stamps
First day cover - self-adhesive stamps

Maximum Cards

50c ‘Hari Withers’ Camellia maximum card
50c ‘Victoria Gold’ Rose maximum card
50c ‘Superb’ Grevillea maximum card
50c ‘Bush Tango’ Kangaroo Paw maximum card
50c ‘Midnight’ Rhododendron maximum card

Sheetlet Pack

Sheetlet pack of 10 x 50c
Sheetlet pack back