Log in

Editor's Picks

Icarus Dubanci
Czech artist Petr Václavek has created a fantasy world...
Website Editor | Jun 16, 2022
stamp_collage.jpg
It turns out quite a number of countries have issued stamps...
Roderick Cameron | Jun 11, 2022
Cactus and Succulents Garden, Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the oldest and largest ...
Website Editor | Apr 16, 2022

Plant Focus

Oaks on Postage Stamps

The late Stelian Radu, one of the early members of the IOS, wrote an article in International Oaks no. 3 (1993) about postage stamps that featured oaks: "The Oaks in Philately." It was based on his own collection, which focused on stamps related to trees and forests, and it included some illustrations in black and white. I thought it might be interesting to update the article to include other stamps with oaks, using the research capabilities that the internet now offers, and to illustrate them with color reproductions. The project turned out to be a bit of a rabbit hole, as it turns out that in addition to the stamps that Stelian had not included, a large number of countries have issued oak-related stamps since he wrote the article. It might be easier to list the countries that haven't done so! You can see the result of the research below.

I found a total of 100 stamps that prominently featured an oak tree, oak leaves, or acorns. As might be expected, Quercus robur is by far the most philatelic oak, chosen by many European countries. But there are some interesting rarities: kudos to Costa Rica for putting the rare Q. brenesii on a stamp; a few countries have highlighted their endemic species, or at least species that would be endemic or nearly so before they were synonymized; Germany issued two poignant post-war stamps in which oaks eloquently symbolize the hope of new beginnings; an oak cultivar has made it on to a stamp (issued by Belgium, of course); and surely the prize for rarity goes to Abkhasia, who put two oak fossils on their stamps. Interesting to note that countries in oak diversity hotspots like Mexico, China, and South East Asia are surprisingly absent. 

If you know of any that I have missed, click here to let me know, or if you are an IOS member you can log in and post a comment below.

 

Abkhasia

This de facto state in the South Caucasus, recognized by most countries as part of Georgia, is the only country to put Quercus fossils on their stamps: Q. kodorica and Q. sosnowskyi, both described by Georgian/Russian (Soviet) paleobotanist Alfred Alekseevich Kolakovsky (1906–1997).

Quercus kodorica
Quercus sosnowskyi

Algeria

Issued as part of a series of four stamps commemorating the International Year of Forests - Fruits and Nuts (2011), this stamp bears images of Q. suber.

Cork oak Algeria

Belarus

Quercus robur (in Belarussian дуб звычайны - dub zvyčajny) is featured in this stamp issued in 2004. 

Oak stamp Belarus

Belgium

The only stamp to feature an oak cultivar, Q. 'Pondaim', a selection of the hybrid Q. dentata × pontica.

Quercus Pondaim Belgium

From a series on Tree Fruits and Nuts issued in 2021, this stamp features Q. robur (zomereik in Flemish and Chêne pedunculé in French).

Zomereik Belgium

An oak (species not specified) is featured on this stamp issued in 2009, part of a series on Forest Trees.

Eik Belgium

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Quercus cerris (hrast cer), issued in 2013, Croatian administration, part of a series of Myths and Flora.

Quercus cerris Bosnia Herzegovina

Quercus sessilis (a synonym of Q. petraea), issued in 2000, Croatian administration, part of a series of Flora of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Oak BosniaHerzegovina

Part of a series on Old Slavic Sacred Trees, this stamp features Q, robur, identified only as Quercus (hrast).

Oak Bosnia Herzegovina Serbian admin

Bulgaria

Quercus robur, apparently 800 years old, featured in a 1964 stamp, part of a series on trees.

Quercus robur Bulgaria

Two stamps featuring species endemic to Bulgaria Q. thracica (considered a synonym of Q. cerris) and Q. mestensis (a synonym of Q. robur subsp. pedunculiflora), part of 1992 series of four Endemic Trees of Bulgaria.

Quercus thracica
Quecus mestensis

Canada

Quercus rubra on a stamp issued in 1978, as part of a series featuring leaves of six Canadian trees.

Quercus rubra

Costa Rica

Issued in 1976 as part of a series commemorating the centenary of Costa Rican botanist Prof. Alberto Manuel Brenes Mora. The stamp features the rare Q. brenesii, native to Costa Rica and also found in Mexico (Veracruz) and Nicaragua; the series included four other plants named in honor of Brenes Mora..

Quercus brenesii

Croatia

A series of three stamps issued in 2002 featured Q.ilex (crnika), Q. petraea (kitnjak), and Q. robur (lužnjak).

Quercus ilex, petraea, robur

Cyprus

Quercus alnifolia, the golden oak of Cyprus, featured on a stamp issued in 1994, part of a series of four trees of Cyprus. The stamp includes the local name, λατζιά, which has an interesting derivation: from Υλάτης (Hylates), an epithet attributed by the ancient Cypriots to the Greek god Apollo, Apollo Hylates, i.e., ‘Apollo who lives in the forest’, from ὕλη (hyle) = ‘forest’.

Querucs alnifolia

Czechia (Czech Republic)

Part of a series on Protected Trees issued in 2004, the stamp shows Žižka's Oak (Žižkův dub) in Podhradí near Lichnice, Chrudim Region, thought to be some 900 years old. The current girth and height of the tree (Q. robur) are 9.20 and over 18 m, respectively. The tree was possibly named after the famous Hussite commander Jan Žižka for its perseverance to keep standing and fight.

Zizkia Oak

One of three stamps issued in a series named Protection of Nature: Trees (1993); Q. robur.

Pedunculate oak Czech Rep

Denmark

Issued in 1999 as apart of a series featuring four deciduous trees: oak (eg), Q. robur.

Quecus robur Denmark

Estonia

A stamp issued in 2008 to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Republic of Estonia shows a stylized Q. robur with disproportionately large leaves.

Quercus robur Estonia

 

Finland

Quercus robur, issued in 1991 as part of a series on regional fruiting trees.

Quercus robur Finland

France

Quercus robur (chêne pedunculé), part of a series of 10 trees from around the world, issued in 2018.

Quercus robur France

Oak leaves (chêne, species not specified), part of a series of eight stamps featuring tree leaves, issued in 1994.

Oak leaf France

One of a series of 10 stamps entitled "Flora", issued in 1985: Q. pedunculata (a synonym of Q. robur).

Quercus robur France

Germany

Part of series of four stamps depicting the four seasons, issued in 2006. The stamp for winter features a Q. robur located in the State Domain Beberbeck near Hofgeismar, Kassel. Click here to view Eike Jablonski's photo of the oak, taken in 2018.

Quercus robur German

Issued to commemorate the opening of the National Assembly, Weimar in 1919. The image shows new shoots sprouting from an oak stump, symbolic of new government. The species appears to be Q. robur.

Quercus petraea Germany

Issued in 1945 by Berlin and Brandenburg (Soviet Occupation zone), the stamp shows an oak seedling (probably Q. petraea) planted amid the ruins of Berlin.

Stadt Berlin 1945

Issued in 1958 to mark the 150th anniversary of the German Gymnastics Movement, the stamp features the gymnastic cross in an oak leaf.

Gymnastic cross in oak leaf

Part of a four-stamp series of Forest Fruits, issued in 1979: Q. robur (Stieleiche).

Steileiche

Grenada

One of a series of 17 stamps issued in 1991, featuring paintings by Vincent Van Gogh; this stamp shows his Rocks with Oak Tree, painted in 1888.

Rocks with Oak Tree

Guernsey

An island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy, Guernsey is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown Dependency. This stamp is part of a 2011 PostEuropa issue, featuring three forest trees and their fruit. It shows a Q. robur acorn.

Quercus robur acorn

Issued in 1975, this stamp shows an oak tree planted in Hauteville House by Victor Hugo during his exile in Guernsey. His hope was that by the time the tree had reached maturity a United States of Europe would be a reality. Part of a series of four stamps entitled Souvenir of Victor Hugo's Exile in Guernsey (1855–1870),

Hauteville Oak

Hungary

A stamp issued in 1982 issued to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Diósgyör Paper Mill. The image shows an oak leaf and acorns and leaves of another tree (linden (Tilia)?). The mill's current logo appears to show the same motif. The oak has the acorn stalks of Q. robur, but the leaf base of Q. petraea. Might it be Qrosacea?

Quercus rosacea Hungary

Ireland

One of a series of four stamps of trees of Ireland issued in 2006. It shows Q. petraea (dair ghaelach), Ireland's national tree.

Quercus petraea Ireland

Israel

Quercus ithaburensis (Mount Tabor oak) is featured in this stamp issued in 2018, as one of a series of three named Trees of Israel. 

Quercus ithaburensis

Quercus ithaburensis was also chosen for one of the stamps in a 1981 series named Trees of the Holy Land.

Quercus ithaburensis Israel

Italy

One of a series of 17 stamps issued in 1936 to commemorate two thousand years since the birth of Horace. Each of the stamps includes a quotation from the classical poet's work. This stamp depicts a Q. ilex (holm oak) and an eagle, with the inscription "duris ut ilex". The quotation is taken from Book IV of Horace's Odes. The passage from which it is taken reads:

Gens, quae cremato fortis ab Ilio
iactata Tuscis aequoribus sacra
     natosque maturosque patres
     pertulit Ausonias ad urbes,

duris ut ilex tonsa bipennibus
nigrae feraci frondis in Algido,
     per damna, per caedes ab ipso
     ducit opes animumque ferro. 

It has been translated by A.S. Kline as follows:

Their race, still strong despite the burning of Troy,
brought their children, sacred icons, and aged
fathers, tossed about on Tuscan seas,
to the towns of Italy, as some oak,

rich in its dark leaves, high on Mount Algidus,
trimmed back by the double-bladed axe, draws strength
and life, despite loss and destruction,
from the very steel itself. 

Duris ut ilex

Issued in 1958, this stamp commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Italian Constitution. It shows an oak (Q. petraea?) with a vigorous new shoot, symbolic perhaps of a new beginning.

Oak with new growth

Japan

Stamps issued on the occasion of the National Afforestation Ceremony successively in the 22nd, 23rd, and 25th years of the Heisei period (reign of Emperor Akihito).  

Quercus myrsinifolia
Q. myrsinifolia (2010)
Quercus serrata
Q. acutissima (2010)
Quercus gilva Japan
Q. gilva (2011)
Quercus serrata Japan
Q. serrata (2013)

One of a series of five stamps issued in 2022 as part of a series entitled Land Afforestation in Shiga Prefecture. It depicts Q. acuta.

Quercus acuta Japan

A series called Greetings - Autumn 2020 includes stamps showing eight leaves, fruits, and nuts associated with autumn. They include an oak leaf that looks likes Q. dentata, and an acorn of an unspecified species (not from Section Cyclobalanopsis). The perforations follow the contour of each figure.

Quercus dentata
Acorn Japan

Jersey

Quercus robur is the subject of two stamps issued by the largest of the Channel Islands, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey. The earlier one was issued in 1997 and the second in 2011, part of a PostEuropa issue.

Common oak Jersey
Quercus robur Jersey

Jordan

One of a series of three stamps of "perennial trees" of Jordan issued in 2003. It shows Q. aegilops, considered a synonym of Q. macrolepis (for some authors, Q. ithaburensis subsp. macrolepis).

Quercus aegilops Jordan

Part of a multi-country emission in 2017 featuring trees of the Mediterranean: Q. cerris. 

Quercus cerris Jordan

Latvia

Issued in 2005 as one of a series of stamps depicting Nature Monuments of Latvia, this stamp shows the Kaive Oak (Kaives dižozols, the giant oak of Kaive, a Q. robur) in Sēme Parish, Tukums Municipality, Latvia. In 2014 it had a girth of 10.4 m and a height of 18 m. It is reportedly the tree with the largest girth in the Baltic States and is protected as a natural monument in Latvia.

Quercus robur Latvia

Liechtenstein

One of a series of three stamps with trees issued in 1986. The species is not specified but could be Q. robur.

Oak Liechtenstein

Another series featuring trees was issued in 2016. Again, the species in question appears to be Q. robur, though no name is given on the stamp.

Quercus robur Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Issued in 1920 to commemorate the opening of Lithuanian National Assembly. It features a "sacred oak", presumably Q. robur.

Sacred oak Lithuania

This stamp issued in 2010 features the Stelmužė Oak (Stelmužės ąžuolas), a Q. robur which grows in the former Stelmužė Manor park by Stelmužė village, Lithuania. The oak is 3.5 m in diameter and 13 m in girth at its widest part; and 2.8 m. and 9.58 m at waist level. The oak reaches 23 m in height with only side branches remaining alive. It is believed to be over 1,000 years old.

Quercus robur Lithuania

A 2016 stamp shows a Q. robur in Ąžuolynas ("oak grove"), a public park in Lithuania's second largest city, Kaunas.

Ąžuolynas Lithuania

Luxembourg

Part of a series of four indigenous trees issued in 1995, this stamp shows Q. pedunculata, a synonym of Q. robur.

Q. pedunculata

Moldova

Issued in 2018 as part of a series featuring eight trees: Q. robur (stejar).

Q. robur Moldova

Morocco

Part of a joint emission in 2017 by several countries showing trees of the Mediterranean: Q. suber (chêne liège).

Quercus suber Morocco

Netherlands

One of a 2017 series of two stamps showing trees in summer: Q. robur.

Quercus robur Netherlands

North Macedonia

One of a 1998 series of two stamps commemorating Christmas. It shows a loaf of bread and oak leaves of an unspecified species with distinctly long petioles. Both items form part of traditional Christmas ceremonies in North Macedonia, the oak in the form of the Бадник (badnik) or Yule log, which is lit on Christmas Eve.

Bread and oak leaves

Part of a series issued in 2001 featuring four native trees of Macedonia, two of which are oaks: Q. coccifera and Q. macedonica (a synonym of Q. trojana).

Quercus coccifera
Quercus macedonica

Northern Cyprus

One of a series of two stamps showing "hundred-year-old trees" (the other is an Olea europea): Q. infectoria. The subspecies that is found in Cyprus is known as Q. infectoria subsp. veneris, for some authors Q. boissieri. It is difficult to make out the text on the stamp in the low-resolution image available, but it appears to say "Quercus infectoria ssp. Cyprus Oak". Cyprus oak is one of the common names of this taxon, also known as Aleppo oak, gall oak, and dyer's oak.

Quercus infectoria

Poland

One of a series of six stamps issued in 1978 showing different tree species, under the title "Protection of the Environment": Q. robur (dąb szypułkowy).

Quercus robur Poland

Poland's other native oak, Q. petraea (dąb bezszypułkowy), is the subject of a stamp issued in 1995.

Quercus petraea

Portugal

Quercus suber (sobreiro) is featured on one of the stamps issued in 2017 as Portugal's contribution to the multi-country emission commemorating trees of the Mediterranean (Árvores do Mediterrâneo).

Quercus suber Portugal

Romania

Issued in 1956 as part of a series commemorating the Month of the Forest: Q. robur.

Quercus robur Romania

To commemorate the 35th anniversary of the republic in 1982, Romania issued a stamp that shows the national flag above a fruiting twig of what appears to be Q. petraea.

romanian flag and oaks

One of a 1994 series of eight stamps showing trees: Q. robur.

Quercus robur Romania

Russia

Issued in 2015 as one of four stamps in a series featuring trees: Q. robur (дуб черешчатый, dub chereshchatyy, "pedunculate oak").

Quercus robur Russia

San Marino

Quercus pubescens is featured in a stamp from a 1997 series of four "Monumental Trees".

Quercus pubescens

A 1999 series shows four examples of bonsai trees, one of them a Q. robur.

Quercus robur bonsai

Slovakia

One of a series of three stamps in a series issued in 1993 under the title "Protection of Nature": Q. robur.

Quercus robur Slovakia

Slovenia

Part of a series dedicated to Slovenians around the world, this 2020 stamp bears the legend "Slovenians in Germany" (Slovenci v Nemčiji) and bears stylized representations of Tilia platyphyllos (lipa) and Q. robur (hrast dob), presumably representing Germany and Slovenia.

Quercus robur and Tilia plathyphyllos

Soviet Union

Part of a 1980 series featuring "Protected Trees and Shrubs": Q. robur (дуб обыкновенный, dub obyknovénnyy, "common oak").

Quercus robur

Issued to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the painter Ivan Shishkin (1832–1898), this stamp shows his 1865 painting entitled Дуб (oak): Q. robur (probably).

Quercus robur USSR

One of five stamps in a 1988 series dedicated to the fountains of Petrodvorets (Петродворец), a former name for Petergof (Петерго́ф), a palace in St. Petersburg, famous for its fountains. The fountain depicted in the stamp is known as  дубок (dubok), meaning "oak seedling," and is one of the so called joke-fountains, in this case in the shape of a stylized young oak, presumably Q. robur or Q. petraea.

Dubok Russia

Spain

Issued in 1966 to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the city of Guernica. The stamp features the Árbol de Guernica (in Basque Gernikako Arbola, "Tree of Guernika"), a Q. robur that symbolizes traditional freedoms for the Biscayan people, and by extension for the Basque people as a whole. It has been replaced five times since the first was planted in the 14th century, using seedlings grown from the tree's acorns. The tree depicted on the stamp was the third, re-planted in 1860, which survived the Bombing of Guernica in 1937 but had to be replaced in 2015 because of a fungus.

Arbol de Guernica Spain

One of a series of two stamps issued in 2000 featuring trees: Q. ilex (encina).

Quercus ilex
Caption

Issued in 2003, in a another two-stamp series featuring trees: Q. robur (roble).

Quercus robur

Switzerland

Part of a four-stamp Pro Juventute ("For the Youth") series issued in 1992: Q. robur.

Quercus robur Switzerland

One of three stamps in a 2009 series showing Ancient Trees: Q. sp. (robur?).

Quercus robur Switzerland

Another tree series issued in 2001, consisting of four trees, this one an unspecified Quercus species, presumably Q. robur.

Quercus robur Switzerland

Syria

Issued to commemorate 2015 Tree Day, the stamp features an oak, without indicating a species. Difficult to tell from the image, but perhaps, based on the acorns, Q. libani?

Quercus libani

Ukraine

One of a series of 20 stamps of trees issued over several years starting in 2012: Q. robur (дуб звичайний, dub zvychaynyy, "common oak").

Quercus robur Ukraine

United Kingdom

Issued in 1973 as part of a two-stamp issue featuring trees: Q. robur.

Quercus robur UK

Issued in 1995 to commemorate the Centenary of the National Trust: an oak seedling, probably Q. petraea.

Oak seedling UK

A stamp issued in 2003, showing a stylized oak in relief. The species is undefined but could be Q. petraea.

Quercus petraea UK

Part of a series commemorating 10 famous scientists who were members of the Royal Society, celebrating 350 years of the Society. The stamp shows Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913), a British naturalist, best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection. Oak branches appear in silhouette above his face.

Wallace and oak UK

United States of America

Commemorating the 300th anniversary of the state of Connecticut, this 1935 stamp depicts the Charter Oak, an unusually large Q. alba growing on Wyllys Hyll in Hartford, Connecticut in the U.S., from around the 12th or 13th century until it fell during a storm in 1856. According to tradition, Connecticut's Royal Charter of 1662 was hidden within the hollow of the tree to thwart its confiscation by the English governor-general. The oak became a symbol of American independence and is commemorated on the Connecticut State Quarter. For Connecticut's tercentennial, it was depicted on a commemorative half dollar as well as on this stamp.

Charter Oak USA

Quercus alba was also selected for one of a series of four stamps issued in 1978 featuring U.S. trees.

Quercus alba USA

Part of a series of 13 stamps issued between 1987 and 1990 to commemorate the Bicentennial Ratification of the Constitution, one for each state that ratified the Constitution. The stamp corresponding to the state of Georgia shows an oak, and based on the Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish moss) draping from its branches, one might venture to say it is Q. virginiana (live oak).

Quercus virginiana

In 1999 the U.S. Postal Service introduced stamps that could be purchased and printed via a personal computer. One of the designs used in 2008 showed oak leaves with fall colors, possibly Q. rubra.

Oak leaves US

Vatican City

In 1995, Vatican City issued a series of definitive stamps highlighting the theme "European Year of Nature Conservation." This stamp depicts the Fountain of the Eagle in the Vatican Gardens with some Q. ilex in the background.

Quercus ilex Vatican

Yugoslavia

Port a series of 14 stamps issue in late 1978 to commemorate New Year 1979: Q robur.

Quercus robur Yugoslavia

One of 20 stamps issued between 1992 and 2002 highlighting concern for the protection of nature: Q. robur.

Quercus robur Yugoslavia

Acknowledgments

I have IOS-member Claudio Pedró to thank (?) for the idea of writing about this subject.