Romania – Fruits, a beloved theme for those passionate by philately, is once again taken up this year by Romfilatelia within the postage stamp issue “Berries”. Forest fruits are the ones that color every summer the woods and the clearing of forests. They have been consumed by humans before the arrival of agriculture and are still an important source of food for many species of animals. Forest fruits are considered to be among the healthiest foods. Rich in antioxidants, they have many beneficial properties for the body, helping to fortify immunity and combat certain conditions. The color of these fruits is an indication of the benefits that their consumption brings to the body. Thus, red fruits protect our heart and blood vessels and help us maintain a good memory. The blue-violet color of the fruit should be the main reason those who are interested in anti-aging effects chose them, since the anthocyanins and phenolic compounds contained are true weapons against free radicals. Also, like red fruits, the blue-violet ones help memory. The common sea buckthorn (Hippophaë rhamnoides), illustrated on the stamp with the face value of Lei 2.20, is a shrub that can grow up to 5-6 m tall.

The branches have numerous long spikes, very sharp, and the leaves are narrow, greenish silver. The flowers, brownish-yellow, are small and appear in March-April. Fruits are ovoid or globular, 5-10 mm long and 4-8 mm wide. They are grouped together, green in the beginning and yellow-orange when they reach full maturity. They can be harvested immediately after ripening until the first frost. Known also as the white sea buckthorn, because of its spines, it is spread in the hilly regions of Wallachia and Moldavia, where it grows abundantly along rivers and springs, as well as on mountain slopes. Crataegus monogyna is commonly known as the single-seeded hawthorn or common hawthorn and can be found in the plains, hills and mountains, being quite unpretentious. It is illustrated on the stamp with the face value of Lei 3.50. It is a spiny shrub with lobed leaves and finely serrated edges. Flowers have 5 white or pink petals and are reunited in bouquets that grow red-orange fleshy fruits. The common hawthorn grows on the lower plains, where the fruits reach maturity in the early days of September, up to the sub-mountainous areas where they ripen later due to climatic conditions. The mature fruits are red. For therapeutic purposes, the on uses the common hawthorn’s flowers, leaves and fruits.

They contain flavonoids, vitamins B and C, volatile oils and tannins. Rosa canina, illustrated on the stamp with the face value of Lei 8, is a shrub whose healing properties have been known since antiquity. The popular name of this flower is dog rose. The dog rose is a perennial plant, growing on the plains but also in hilly areas, and which blooms in the first part of April. The pink flowers turn into small, red fruits towards the end of September. Usually the rose has pale pink flowers, but there are also subspecies with white or dark pink flowers. The flowers themselves measure between 4 and 6 cm in diameter and have 5 petals. What we refer to as the fruit are actually pseudo-fruit, the real fruits being the ones inside, called “seeds.” The plant is high in certain antioxidants. The fruit is noted for its high level of vitamin C, and is used to make syrup, tea, and marmalade. Fragaria vesca with the common names of wild strawberry, woodland strawberry, Alpine strawberry, Carpathian Strawberry, European strawberry is a perennial herbaceous plant of the genus Fragaria, the Rosaceae family, which can reach a height of 30 cm.

It is illustrated on the stamp with the face value of Lei 15. The fruits are edible, small and conical in shape, white or red, fleshy with a sweet and sour taste. The leaves are trifoliate, green, odorless and astringent. The woodland strawberry grows through meadows and around hedges, and is spread both in hilly areas and in mountain areas. It blooms in the spring, and in the next 25-30 days the fruits can be harvested. The woodland strawberry is a necessary plant both in traditional alternative medicine and in gastronomy. The blackberry (Rubus sp.), illustrated on the „first day” cover, is a 1 – 3 m high shrub growing in hilly areas, at the edge of forests, in the mountains. Blackberries also called packets of vitamins and minerals, contain not less than seven vitamins, most from the B complex, but also vitamins E and C. All blackberries contain tannins, flavonoids, vitamin C and natural estrogens. The issue is complete by a set of four maximum cards. Romfilatelia thanks the “Dimitrie Brandza” Bucharest University Botanical Garden, the Romanian Academy Biology Institute and photographer Octavian Chende for the support granted in the creation of this postage stamp issue.