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CROATIAN FLORA - Bilberry

     

Code: 331648 Available

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CROATIAN FLORA - Bilberry

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Number: 1130
Value: 3.10 HRK
Design: Sabina Rešić, painter and designer, Zagreb
Size: 29.82 x 35.50 mm
Paper: white 102 g, gummed
Perforation: Comb,14
Technique: Multicolored Offsetprint
Printed by: AKD d.o.o., Zagreb
Date of issue: 21/3/2018
Quantity: 100,000


Bilberry is commonly found in the woods across Europe, all the way to the Caucasus, and in northern Asia. In Croatia it typically grows in Lika and Gorski Kotar, as well as the mountains of Medvednica, Ivanščica, Strahinjščica, hills around the town of Samobor, Žumberak, Papuk and Psunj. It naturally grows on acidic, moist, limestone-free humic soil. It typically grows in clusters covering larger surfaces. It bears fruit used as food in Europe. It has also been used as a medicine for more than a thousand years.


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Common bilberry is a perennial, deciduous shrub that branches out. It grows up to the heights between 30 and 60 cm. It has shiny green, narrow and very angular shoots (branches) that grow from long underground offshoots (rhizomes). The surface root is very developed and many offshoots sprout from it during spring and fall time, especially from damaged sections usually caused by wild animals. Light green leaves on small stems are 1-3 cm long and 1.5 cm wide with an ovate elliptic shape with small jagged edges and a short pointy top that turns orange-red in the fall. The flowers are around 0.6 cm wide, round and jug-shaped. At first, they are greenish and then turn a pale red colour. They begin to bloom in April and May. The fruit is an edible, sweet and juicy spherical berry with a 1 cm diameter of a dark blue colour with a visible remains of a calyx on top. It ripens between July and September. Bilberry is commonly found in the woods across Europe, all the way to the Caucasus, and in northern Asia. In the 19th century it was naturalised in parts of Canada and the USA. In Croatia it typically grows in Lika and Gorski Kotar, as well as the mountains of Medvednica, Ivanščica, Strahinjščica, hills around the town of Samobor, Žumberak, Papuk and Psunj. Its fruit is used as food in Europe. It has also been used as a medicine for more than a thousand years. Ripe fruits are juicy because of the high water content and are rich with minerals and vitamin C. Due to the large amounts of malic acid, they are slightly sour. This makes them refreshing so they are sold as fresh fruits on the markets in the summer months. They are also used for sweets, marmalades, compotes, juices, fruit yoghurts, crèmes, liqueurs and sweet wines. In addition to being used as food, the fruit is also used to dye cloths, especially during the medieval times: its red juice gets darker when exposed to air and is suitable for dying wool and cotton. Since the 19th century, the juice has been added to wines to achieve fruity aromas and intensive red colours. It is used as a natural colorant even today, mostly in the food and pharmaceutical industry. The bilberry leaf and fruit have numerous healing properties. They have been used to alleviate stomach and intestine ailments, and as a remedy for coughing and respiratory organ illnesses ever since the times of ancient Romans. Just like its close relative, the cranberry, the bilberry fruit contains a high concentration of compounds with anti-infection and antibiotic properties. It is suitable for treating bacterial and viral infections, and is used as an antiseptic. The Latin epithet of the myrtillus genus is a diminutive of the word Myrtus, myrtle, and is translated as “mirtica“ due to the resemblance of the blue fruit to that of myrtle. Other useful species belong to the Vaccinium family, such as cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), recognizable by its red berries, or American types of bilberries that tolerate high temperatures and less acidic soil making them suitable for growing on plantations around the world, including Croatia.

Number: CROATIAN FLORA
Type: C
Description:   Motifs: bilberry, Cornelian cherry, sweet chestnut Stamps have been issued in sheets of 20 stamps and booklets of 10 stamps; there is also First Day Cover (FDC) and three Maximum Cards issued by Croatian Post.
Date: 21/3/2018

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