[ Biostratigraphy of the Permian Standard Section ]
JOHN M. MILLER, Ph.D.
University and Jepson Herbaria
Room 1001, Valley Life Sciences Building 2465
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, USA 94720-2465
Folded and overthrust mountain belts of southwestern North America yield classic exposures of a nearly complete sequence of Paleozoic rocks. Exposures consist of uplifted and overthrusted Devonian and Pennsylvanian rocks of the Marathon Fold Belt; and Permian sediments of the Del Norte and Glass Mountains. Sedimentary beds in the Del Norte and Glass Mountains comprise the standard North American type section through rocks of Permian age.
While the invertebrate fauna of the Glass Mountains is well known from detailed studies by Cooper and Grant (1972) and Olszewski and D. H. Erwin (2009); the transitional (deltaic) and marginally marine depositional environments of the Del Norte Mountains, which contain Permian (Leonardian) gigantopterid plant and bellerophontacean gastropod megafossils assignable to Cymatospira or Patellilabia (Mamay et al. 1984), are less well understood.
There are significant similarities of the Permian Del Norte Mountains flora with South American paleofloras of the Permian Palmarito Formation (Ricardi et al. 2004), the Venezuelan Carache Formation (Ricardi-Branco 2008), and Leonardian florules of Mexico (Weber 1997). The Del Norte Mountains Leonardian florule while low in biodiversity and otherwise similar to an older coastal Permian flora from the Abo Formation (DiMichele et al. 2007), is not dominated by walchian conifers and Supaia-like peltaspermaleans.
The late Sergius H. Mamay, Ph.D. of the United States National Museum is pictured above standing on the fossiliferous Upper Member of the Leonardian Cathedral Mountains Formation of the Del Norte Mountains of southwestern North America.
Cretaceous limestones overtopping a 200 m thick bed of limestone pebbles, dolomite, quartz, and shales comprising the Triassic Bissett Conglomerate (Jurassic rocks are eroded away); together with underlying Permian conglomerates, limestones, shales, and siltstones; and Paleogene volcanic intrusions, are prevalent in the rugged Del Norte Mountains of North America, including significant deposits of lead and hematite that have been mined in the last century (Barnes 1982).
Permian rocks of the Del Norte Mountains include marine and transitional, deltaic sediments of the Permian Wolfcampian, Leonardian, Wordian, Guadalupian, and Ochoan Ages (Wardlaw 2000).
Glass and Del Norte Mountains rocks yield gymnospermous fossils in several areas including Units 5 and 6 of Section IV, uppermost Cathedral Mountain Formation (Rohr et al. 1987, Wardlaw et al. 1990), and in several other isolated stations in this mountainous region (C. N. Miller and Brown 1973, Mamay et al. 1988). Dating of the layers is supported by micropaleontological evidence from conodonts (Wardlaw et al. 1990, Wardlaw 2000) and fusulinids (Yang and Yancey 2000).
The image to the left is a slab exfoliating from rock layers of the Upper Member. A private mapping party in 1981 discovered this slab along a wild game trail in the Del Norte Mountains. The in situ slab pictured to the left shows overlapping leaf compressions of Delnortea abbottiae and Taeniopteris. The kodachrome below to the left is of two fossilized seeds, assignable to Cordaicarpus (Mamay et al. 1984), which are virtually identical to platyspermic seeds from the South American Palmarito Formation, also associated with Delnortea leaves (page 82, Figure 6, Ricardi et al. 2004).
Pictured above and the right is a nearly complete fossil leaf of the holotype of Delnortea abbottiae (USNM 364416), photographed by the author a few days after the fossil was unearthed from beds of the Lower Permian (Leonardian) Cathedral Mountain Formation, Del Norte Mountains, southwestern North America.
Large leaf compressions and permineralizations of Leonardian plants were described about 20 years ago (Mamay et al. 1986, 1988). A preliminary biostratigraphic study of the fossiliferous layers by Rohr et al. (1987) resulted in mapping of Section IV, Units 5 and 6, which were later assigned to the uppermost Cathedral Mountains Formation by Wardlaw (1990) based on his detailed conodont studies of the North American Permian type section.
Mamay's suggestion that the stratigraphic occurrence of Delnortea in Upper Leonardian rocks of the Cathedral Mountain Formation may lead to a better understanding of Permian floral zones is supported by discovery of Delnortea from the Artinskian of northwestern South America (Ricardi et al. 1999).
A scanning electron micrograph on this page shows the arrangement of permineralized tracheids and ray parenchyma cells of a fragment from the Dadoxylon log (see image to the left) found exfoliating from graded conglomerates in Unit 6. Distribution of rounded chert pebbles up to two centimeters in diameter, sands, and fines in the conglomerate, suggest a much higher energy depositional environment than the fine-grained mudstone comprising Unit 5 (Rohr et al. 1987).
The notion of Delnortea as a widespread and common Pangaean floristic element of the Lower Permian of North America (Mamay et al. 1984) is supported by a startling discovery of Delnortea leaf fragments and other plant fossils in core samples of the Permian, Leonardian, Clear Fork Dolomite recovered from three wells drilled more than 2000 meters deep through the thick sediments of southwestern North America (DiMichele et al. 2000).
Tropical, summer wet, terrestrial biomes of the early Permian Period contained innovative and unusual xeromorphic seed plant assemblages (DiMichele et al. 2004). The widely separated Delnortea-dominated floras reported by Mamay et al. (1984) and Ricardi et al. (1999) are examples of pervasive seed plant associations that might reflect long-term stasis in Permian terrestrial paleoenvironments.
Taphonomic studies of the delnortea beds (Unit 5) and log bed (Unit 6) of Section IV are needed to better understand paleoenvironments of the Cathedral Mountains Formation in relation to western Pangaean subtropical coastal landscapes (DiMichele et al. 2007, Ricardi-Branco 2008) that existed during the Permian Period more than 260 million years ago.
Barnes, V. E. 1982. Geologic Atlas of Texas, Fort Stockton Sheet, Bureau of Economic Geology and The University of Texas.
Cooper, G. A. and R. E. Grant. 1972. Permian Brachiopods of West Texas, Pts. 1-5. Smithsonian Contributions in Paleobiology, 1972-1976.
DiMichele, W. A., A. K. Behrensmeyer, T. D. Olszewski, C. C. Labandeira, J. M. Pandolfi, S. L. Wing, and R. Bobe. 2004. Long-term stasis in ecological assemblages: evidence from the fossil record. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 35: 285-322.
[ Living "Fossil" Magnoliids: Degeneriaceae of Fiji ]
DiMichele, W. A., D. S. Chaney, W. H. Dixon, W. J. Nelson, and R. W. Hook. 2000. An early Permian coastal flora from the Central Basin Platform of Gaines County, West Texas. Palaios 15(6): 524-534.
DiMichele, W. A., D. S. Chaney, W. J. Nelson, S. G. Lucas, C. V. Looy, K. Quick, and W. Jun. 2007. A low diversity, seasonal tropical landscape dominated by conifers and peltasperms: early Permian Abo Formation, New Mexico. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 145(3-4): 249-273.
Mamay, S. H., J. M. Miller, and D. M. Rohr. 1984. Late Leonardian plants from West Texas: the youngest Paleozoic plant megafossils in North America. Science 223: 279-281.
Mamay, S. H., J. M. Miller, D. M. Rohr, and W. E. Stein, Jr. 1986. Delnortea, a new genus of Permian plants from West Texas. Phytologia 60: 345-346.
Mamay, S. H., J. M. Miller, D. M. Rohr, and W. E. Stein, Jr. 1988. Foliar morphology and anatomy of the gigantopterid plant Delnortea abbottiae from the Lower Permian of West Texas. American Journal of Botany 75(9): 1409-1433.
Miller, C. N. and J. T. Brown. 1973. A new voltzialean cone bearing seeds with embryos from the Permian of Texas. American Journal of Botany 60: 561-569.
Olszewski, T. D. and D. H. Erwin. 2009. Change and stability in Permian brachiopod communities from west Texas. Palaios 24(1): 27-40.
Ricardi, F., O. Rösler, and O. Odreman. 1999. Delnortea taphoflora (Gigantopteridaceae) of Loma de San Juan (Palmarito Formation, NW of Venezuela) and its palaeophytogeographical relationships in the Artinskian (Neopaleozoic). Plantula 2(1-2): 73-86.
Ricardi-Branco, F. 2008. Venezuelan paleoflora of the Pennsylvanian-early Permian: paleobiogeographical relationships to central and western equatorial Pangaea. Gondwana Research 14(3): 297-305.
Rohr, D. M., R. A. Davis, S. H. Mamay, and J. M. Miller. 1987. Leonardian plant-bearing beds from the Del Norte Mountains, West Texas. SEPM Guidebook 87-27, The Leonardian Facies in W. Texas and S.E. New Mexico and Guidebook to the Glass Mountains West Texas.
Taylor, T. N., E. L. Taylor, and M. Krings. 2009. 19. Gymnosperms with obscure affinities. Pp. 757-785 In: T. N. Taylor et al., Paleobotany: The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants, Second Edition. Burlington: Elsevier Academic Press, 1230 pages.
Wardlaw, B. R. 2000. Guadalupian conodont biostratigraphy of the Glass and Del Norte Mountains. Pp. 37-88 In: B. R. Wardlaw, R. E. Grant, and D. M. Rohr, (eds.), The Guadalupian Symposium, Smithsonian Contributions to the Earth Sciences 32. Washington D. C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 415 pp.
Wardlaw, B. R., R. A. Davis, D. M. Rohr, and R. E. Grant. 1990. Chapter A, Leonardian-Wordian (Permian) Deposition in the Northern Del Norte Mountains, West Texas. U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1881, Washington, D. C., 14 pp.
Weber, R. 1997. How old is the Triassic flora of Sonora and Tamaulipas, and news on Leonardian floras in Puebla and Hidalgo, Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geológicas 14(2): 225-243.
Yang, Z. and T. E. Yancey. 2000. Fusulinid biostratigraphy and paleontology of the Middle Permian (Guadalupian) strata of the Glass Mountains and Del Norte Mountains, West Texas. Pp. 185-259 In: B. R. Wardlaw, R. E. Grant, and D. M. Rohr, (eds.), The Guadalupian Symposium. Smithsonian Contributions to Earth Sciences Number 32. Washington D. C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
The image above is the impression of a slab containing Delnortea abbottiae, which was unearthed from Unit 5 of Section IV of fossiliferous exposures in the Del Norte Mountains and separated from the holotype specimen (shown above). My colleague, Dave Rohr photographed this impression in the early 1980s.
A Concluding Note from the Field. I was the scientist responsible for unearthing, selecting, and packing specimens for shipment to the Department of Paleobiology, USNM. Hundreds of pieces from fossilized leaves estimated to be 20 to 30 cm long were left behind in the tailings at the dig.
Students of Permian seed plant paleobotany should take into account the phrase on Page 760 of T. N. Taylor et al. (2009), "most specimens of D. abbottiae are 3-5 cm long, but some may have been up to 30 cm," is imprecise. Fossil delnorteas left-behind in bedding planes were typically much larger than "3-5 cm," which was a fact not widely known until now, begging future field work to include georeferencing, stratigraphic, and taphonomic studies of Unit 5, Section IV, comprising the uppermost Member of the Cathedral Mountains Formation.
JOHN M. MILLER, Ph.D.
University and Jepson Herbaria
Room 1001, Valley Life Sciences Building 2465
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, USA 94720-2465
Several island groups of the southern Pacific Ocean possess harmonic faunas and floras reminiscent of larger, continental land masses. These include the high islands of the Fiji archipelago, Loyalty Islands, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, Nouvelle Caledonie (New Caledonia), and New Zealand's north and south islands (Carlquist 1974, Green 1994).
The Fiji Islands have long been of interest to biogeographers, biologists, and geologists (Raven and Axelrod 1974, Rodda and Kroenke 1984, Thorne 1986, Kroenke 1996, Morley 2001). Three of the largest islands (Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, and Taveuni) support harmonic "continental" floras, including many endemic flowering plant species.
The image above is the northwestern face of the Korombasabasaga Range, Viti Levu Island, Fiji as viewed from the road between Namosi and Wainimakutu villages. The pinnacles in the distance are weathered calc-alkaline Miocene andesites known as the Namosi Volcanics (Rodda and Kroenke 1984).
Endemic tree species of Fiji include several kinds of primitive conifers including Agathis vitiensis, Acmopyle sahniana, Dacrycarpus imbricatus, Dacrydium nausoriense, Dacrydium nidulum, and Decussocarpus vitiensis. A common gnetophyte (Gnetum gnemon) and a narrowly distributed cycad (Cycas rumphii) occur in the archipelago. Tropical forests of the larger islands yield ten genera of monocotyledonous palms including the monotypic Alsmithia longipes, and the enigmatic dicot flowering plant family, Degeneriaceae. All total in this rich flora of some 6,000 species there are 812 endemic angiospermous and gymnospermous species, 12 endemic genera, and one endemic flowering plant family to the archipelago (J. Ash, 1992, A. C. Smith 1996, Table 1).
Some three-hundred other islands of the archipelago are either composed of uplifted interbedded limestones or coral atolls, and exhibit disharmonic (waif) floras (A. C. Smith 1979).
Little is known of the insect fauna of the Fiji Archipelago (Evenhuis and Bickel 2005).
The family Degeneriaceae was discovered in 1942 by I. W. Bailey and A. C. Smith. Professor Al Smith published additional details of their remarkable discovery in 1949. Degeneriaceae combine a number of primitive features (plesiomorphic traits) that have ignited many debates (A. C. Smith 1981).
Consisting of a single genus and two species Degeneriaceae are endemic to three of the seven "high" islands of the Fiji archipelago (A. C. Smith 1991).
On the left is a picture of a flower of Degeneria roseiflora, and several fragrant flower buds at different stages of maturity. Two of the largest flower buds shown on this kodachrome opened one-by-one on the next two successive nights, releasing a rose-like fragrance (photographed by the author).
Flowering material of Degeneria vitiensis is shown to the right (photographed by Paddy Ryan, Ph.D.). Fragrance of this species resembles Cananga odorata according to Professor Al Smith (A. C. Smith 1981).
Degenerias combine several archetypic morphological traits including polycotyledony, carpels with evaginating stigmatic secretions "plugs" (hairs are absent), microsporophylls and not stamens, and monosulcate pollen. Degeneriaceae are close relatives of the Magnoliaceae and Winteraceae (Dahl and Rowley 1962, A. C. Smith 1981, 1991; Carlquist 1989, Harvey 1984). Despite the presence of ancestral (plesiomorphic) traits of female and male organs and vegetative nodal anatomy, basal Degeneriaceae are not a part of the ANITA or ANA clades (D. E. Soltis et al. 2011)
Possible hybrid trees were infrequently observed in mixed stands at Mount Delaikoro and on the Natewa Peninsula of Vanua Levu Island. These trees combined some of the floral traits of both species. Staminodes of possibly hybrid flowers were yellow with pink stripes surrounded by an inner ring of magenta microsporophylls. The slide on the left is a flower from the canopy of a possible hybrid tree. The author placed cut branches side-by-side from two different trees of the Delaikoro stand and photographed them (see right image). The pink-flowered trees were prevalent at Mount Delaikoro, however some individual, possibly hybrid trees had larger flowers.
Detailed, but preliminary field studies of degenerias on Vanua Levu Island at Mount Deliakoro (941 meters), highest point in the Korotini Range ("Deliakoro Study Site"), and tree stands near Mount Naitaradamu (1,153 meters) on Viti Levu Island ("Naitaradamu Study Site"), reveal the extent of seed predation by endemic fruit doves and parrots. The fruits of Degeneria vitiensis at Naitaradamu open in a "butterfly" fashion exposing several bright orange or red seeds that dangle from the fruit casing by funiculi (left-hand image).
According to A. C. Smith (1979) the high islands of Fiji are Gau (Mount Delaitho, 738 meters), Kadavu (Mount Buke Levu, 838 meters), Koro, Ovalau (Mount Delaiovalau, 626 meters), Taveuni (Mount Uluingalau, 1,241 meters), Vanua Levu (Mount Manuka, elevation 1,194 meters), and Viti Levu (Mount Tomanivi, elevation 1,323 meters).
Vanua Levu Island is "frying-pan-shaped" more than 200 km in length. It includes low mountains such as Mount Mariko (elevation 881 m), visible in the Valaga Range to the far left on the image shown below. The first picture below is a view from the forested slopes of the central spine of Vanua Levu Island near the head of the Yanawai River. The Natewa Peninsula is to the right of the image in the background. The waterbody in the distance is Savu Savu Bay.
The "high" island of Taveuni is located southeast of the "panhandle" of Vanua Levu (A. C. Smith 1979).
The Degeneria Image Gallery page contains several scanning electron micrographs of the floral organs of Degeneria vitiensis. The scanning electron micrographs are from flower parts collected in tree canopies of Degeneria at the Naitaradamu and Delaikoro study areas.
Flowering and fruiting trees found on a ridge leading to the summit of Mount Naitaradamu, Viti Levu, Fiji (a tree canopy is illustrated to the left), yielded the samples collected and studied by electron microscopy.
On the Rairaimatuku (Nadrau) Plateau of Viti Levu Island, on the slopes of Mount Naitaradamu, and at Monasavu Reservoir, trees of Degeneria vitiensis (known to foresters as "masiratu") were up to 35 meters tall (and one meter in diameter).
Trees of Degeneriaceae were generally scattered in patchy stands. Stands of masiratu were several hundred meters apart on highland volcanic plateaus, ravines, and ridges, or on lowland alluvial terraces of the Rewa River and tributaries.
Masiratu trees possess distinct, light-green canopies with shiny foliage. Liriodendron- or Magnolia-like flowers are borne on terminal, leafy branchlets, hence another common name, "Fiji Magnolia," coined on a millennial Republic of Fiji postage stamp.
The above image is a flowering branch of a Degeneria vitiensis tree, which is indigenous to the Colo-I-Suva Forest Reserve on Viti Levu Island. Colo-I-Suva is located in the upper reaches of a catchment feeding a southwesterly-flowing minor tributary of the mighty Rewa, which is the largest river on the island. The image was captured by Professor Hervé Sauquet, Laboratoire Ecologie Systématique et Evolution, Equipe Evolution des Angiospermes, Université Paris-Sud, France, and is posted here with his written permission.
Despite many published field and laboratory studies on the basic biology and evolution of magnoliid basal angiosperms (A. C. Smith 1981, 1991, Miller 1988 [two papers], Carlquist 1989, Miller 1989, J. A. Doyle and Endress 2000, among others), the molecular phylogenetic relationships among the component families and genera are unclear. Possibly critical families such as Annonaceae, Degeneriaceae, Magnoliaceae, and Winteraceae are incompletely studied from this research perspective (Sauquet et al. 2003, P. S. Soltis et al. 2009, D. E. Soltis et al. 2011).
Molecular phylogenetic studies of magnoliids by Hervé Sauquet and others (Massoni et al. 2014) reveal unexpected relationships of Degeneria with Myristicaceae. In fact, the Gen Bank sample at the heart of these perplexing results is from a tree in a known stand (J. M. Miller 1189) bearing my numbered aluminum tag "63."
Notes from the field. The Gen Bank sample was shipped by air to Y. L. Qiu at the Missouri Botanical Garden late in October 1987, and is from a tree bearing the aluminum tag No. 63. Tree 63 is from a documented stand (J. M. Miller 1189, SUVA [DA 22253, fruits were obtained on 27 June 1987 as a voucher specimen]). My field book states, "Degeneria roseiflora, Fiji, Vanua Levu Island, Cakaudrove Province, 35.5 km W of the Trans-insular Highway and a km or so N of the Wailevu Coast Road on the logging spur that leads to Keka Village", was sampled on 23 October 1987.
Much of the past molecular phylogenetic work suggests a close relationship between Degeneriaceae and Himantandraceae (page 89, Figure 3, Massoni et al. 2014). A 26S rDNA isolate from the only Gen Bank sample of Degeneria available, when subjected to phylogenetic analyses, reveals "surprising" results (page 90, Figure 4, Massoni et al. 2014).
"... we argue that this result is due to an artifact of attraction between the well-known long stem branch of Myristicaceae [Sauquet et al. 2003] and the unusually long branch of Degeneria for 26S rDNA" (page 91, Discussion, 4.5, 26S rDNA Isolate of Degeneria Leads to Long Branch Attraction, Massoni et al. 2014).
A Nitidulid Beetle Phytophagous Association with Degeneria vitiensis:
Australasian cucujiform nitidulid beetles are pollen- and staminode exudate-feeding residents of the flowers of Degeneria vitiensis. Haptoncus tahktajanii (Nitidulidae, Coleoptera) was described in 1973 by Medvedev, G. S. and M. Ter-Minasyan. The species is a known nectar and pollen feeder (Britton 1970).
Nitidulid beetles feed on the pollen and exudate of Degeneria vitiensis. Staphylinid beetles inhabit the flowers of Degeneria roseiflora while nitidulids are uncommon. The reader may wish to note that the oldest verifiable fossil nitidulid is from Upper Cretaceous Siberian amber, 80 million year's old (Zherikhin and Sukatsheva 1973). Coupled with possible genetic isolation, the rose-flowered species host might have evolved without Australasian nitidulid beetles (Haptoncus tahktajanii).
To the right is a kodachrome of a portion of a flower of Degeneria vitiensis sampled at night from the canopy of a tree located at Mount Naitaradamu, Viti Levu, Fiji. The flower shown to the right is in the female phase. Flowers of degenerias exhibit nyctinastic, circadian movements.
When the flower first opens in the evening a spongy stigmatic plug of a single, conduplicately-folded central carpel is exposed. The carpel is barely visible at the lower left behind the yellow-colored staminodes.
Staminodes of Degeneria vitiensis are covered with bright-yellow, oily exudate. Note the camouflaged nitidulid beetle, Haptoncus tahktajanii feeding on the exudate in the center of the image to the right. A brown microsporophyll is partially hidden between the staminode and the petal to the upper right near the base of two of the many, spirally-arranged petals.
To the left is part of a flower of Degeneria roseiflora from the canopy of a tree located at Mount Delaikoro on Vanua Levu Island. This is the male phase showing purple staminodes with no visible exudate. An outer ring of magenta microsporophylls, and the edge of one petal is visible. Staphylinid beetles were found in this flower. Nitidulids were not observed in these samples.
Scanning electron micrographs of Haptoncus tahktajanii are available in the Haptoncus Image Gallery. Pictures of the dorsal surface of the head and mandibles reveal pollen of Degeneria vitiensis. The images are from a collection of nitidulids found in male and female-phase flowers of Degeneria vitiensis, Naitaradamu study area, Viti Levu, Fiji.
An enlargement of one insect specimen from the gallery of scanning electron micrographs of Haptoncus tahktajanii is shown below. The image is the anterior end of a beetle that was scanned without intermediate fixation or preparatory washes. Two partially crushed boat-shaped monosulcate pollen grains of Degeneria vitiensis are visible in the insect's feeding apparatus. Possible dried staminode exudate covers the front of the head of the beetle.
Potentially interesting floral variation is seen in stands of Degeneria roseiflora on the island of Vanua Levu, Fiji. Mixed, potentially variable stands of Degeneria roseiflora on Mount Delaikoro are dominated by trees having pink and magenta flowers (with rare individuals possessing larger flowers resembling Degeneria vitiensis).
The Australasian cucujiform nitidulid beetle, Haptoncus tahktajanii (Nitidulidae, Coleoptera), is a pollen- and staminode exudate-feeding resident of the flowers of Degeneria vitiensis. The nitidulids' contribution to the reproductive ecology of Degeneria vitiensis may be trivial. Haptoncus tahktajanii was not present on the flowers of Degeneria roseiflora studied.
Based on the author's studies of more than 200 trees in several native stands on Vanua Levu Island and Viti Levu Island (Miller 1988, 1989), there is much more to be learned of the ecology and population genetics of degenerias.
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Field work on Degeneriaceae of the Fiji Islands was sponsored by a grant from the National Geographic Society. I thank Hervé Sauquet, Laboratoire Ecologie Systématique et Evolution, Equipe Evolution des Angiospermes, Université Paris-Sud, France, for contributing an image of Degeneria vitiensis.
A set of four postage stamps commemorating the native flora of Fiji were issued at the close of the 1980s by the Republic of Fiji as first day covers and numbered blocks.
Dr. Miller with the help of University of the South Pacific School of Pure and Applied Sciences staff artist Raj, designed these stamps for the Fiji Posts and Telecommunications Philatelic Bureau.
Fijians and philatelists celebrated the first day covers in those happy years, but unfortunately the stamps are out of print.
The other two postage stamps of the set commemorated two species of native epiphytic Dendrobium orchids. Raj used watercolor technique and materials to create the four original paintings used by the lithographer to produce the stamps.
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