Malaysia which came into being on the 16th September 1963, comprises of the eleven States forming the previous Federation of Malaya, (viz. Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Trengganu), Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. Singapore ceased to be a state of Malaysia from 9th August, 1965.
Malaysia covers an area of about 130,000 square miles. It occupies two distinct regions, the Malay Peninsula which extends south of Thailand from the narrow Kra isthmus to the Straits of Johore, and the north-western coastal area of the island of Borneo. The population of Malaysia numbers just over eight million people according to census and population estimate figures as as the end of 1961. The main sources of income are rubber, tin, timber and iron ore. There are, however, many other industries and crafts of importance to the country's economy. The standard of living in Malaysia and the per capita average income are among the highest in Asia.
The charm and tropical beauty of Malaysia and the variety which pervades her life provide most fascinating subjects for depicting on postage stamps. The first issue of Malaysia definitive postage stamps depicts some of the colourful birds and orchid species of Malaysia. These stamps are in two series.
The National series, which depicts birds, consists of eight denominations, viz. 25c, 30c, 50c, 75c, $1, $2, $5 and $10. These stamps, which do not bear State individuality, are common to all the thirteen States.
The State series, which depicts orchids, consists of seven denominations, viz. 1c, 2c, 5c, 6c, 10c, 15c, and 20c. These stamps bear a portrait of his Highness the Ruler of the State and.or the State Crest and the name of the State in Jawi and Roman characters. The vignette of each denomination is common to every State.
The stamps are printed by Messrs. Harrison and Sons Ltd. in multi-colour by the photogravure process on PTM watermarked paper. They measure 25 mm x 35 mm. The National and State series are in vertical and horizontal format respectively. The artist is Mr. A. Fraser-Brunner.
The orchids depicted in the stamps of the State series are described in this brochure. The birds depicted in the stamps of the National series are described in a separate brochure.
This is a very common Malaysian orchid. It occurs in open swamp country in Sabah, Sarawak, and Malaya. In Perak it is commonly called the Kinta weed. In certain coastal areas in Trengganu it scrambles over bushes and small trees. The plant has a narrow stem with terete leaves. The general colour of the flower is pale mauve with rich purple markings on the lip. Many local hybrids have been made using Vanda hookeriana as a parent. It grows and flowers well in beds. The flower are very decorative and make good cut flowers.
A common terrestrial orchid, which one can usually see along cut railway banks. The plants occur in clumps and the slender and erect stems are arranged close together. The leaves are like those of grass or bamboo. The flowers are large pinkish purple with a rich rose lip striped with orange lines on each side of the white throat. The inflorescence is terminal and the flowers are produced one or two at a time.
This species is found in open sunny places throughout Malaysia. They occur both in the lowlands and the mountains.
One of Malaysia's most beautiful orchid is Paphiopedilum niveum. It is commonly known as the slipper orchid because the lip of the flower is in the form of a slipper. The plant itself is small, not more than 9 ins. in height with close set fleshy leaves, which are purple on the undersurface and dark green on top and mottled white. The flowers are almost pure white marked with purple dots especially toward the base.
It is found in the limestone areas of Langkawi and northern Perlis. In Langkawi it is found on limestone rocks by the sea.
This orchid is very much sought after both by local and overseas collectors.
ANGGEREK BULOH HUTAN
A very common terrestrial orchid widely distributed throughout Malaysia and extensively cultivated as a pot plant is the Spathoglottis plicata. The leaves resemble those of a palm and the general colour of the flower is bright purple with the lip a deeper purple and having a yellow calli. There are many cultivated varieties differing in size and colour. Some varieties are white, mauve or pale mauve. Many hybrids have been raised from this species.
This is the true Scorpion orchid and the flowers are slightly fragrant. It is found in Perak and Pahang and also in Sarawak and Sabah. It is a long climbing plant, and usually forms thickets over small trees and bushes.
The general colour of the flower is pale yellow green, with broad and irregular dark purple brown bars and spots. It is a very handsome orchid and grown usually as a bedding plant.
Many hybrids have been made by using this species as a stud.
ANGGEREK LILIN or ANGGEREK EKOR TUPAI
This plant has a beautiful inflorescence with small flowers clustered together. It is called commonly the fox tail orchid because the inflorescence resembles that of a fox's tail. In some States in Malaysia it is referred to as 'ekor tupai' or squirrel's tail. The flower is purplish white with few purple spots. The lip is purple. It is a most handsome orchid and occurs in Langkawi, Kedah, Northern Perak, Kelantan, and Trengganu.
ANGGEREK ANAK BULAN
Of the Phalaenopsis found in Malaysia this is one of the most attractive, despite the short inflorescence and the fact that only one or two flowers open at a time. The leaves are large, broad, glossy and dark green. The flower is pale green flushed with bright purple and the lip is dark purple. The flower is highly scented. This orchid has been used extensively for crossing purposes. It occurs on trees along rivers in Lower Perak, northern Selangor and to a large extent in Sarawak.
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