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Endemic plant in danger
• Erythrina tahitensis
This tree (Fabaceae family) manages to survive between the valleys of Papenoo and Orofero and loves the semidry environments on the cliffs between 80 and 800 m of altitude. Unfortunately, the deterioration of environments, particularly through urbanization ant the development of invasive introduced plants (Spathodea campanulata, Tecoma stans, Lantana camara and Schefflera actinophylla) is a major cause of extinction of this species. Destruction of a large proportion of seeds by introduced insects, bruches, as well as attacks of erythrin gall on green shoots and leaves, is currently the limiting factor for the protection of the species. There are no more than 30 to 40 individuals. However, conservation efforts carried out by the Environment department for more than 10 years for this species have made it possible to establish a conservatory area containing about thirty plants from different origins and which begin to produce seeds. These can be used to obtain specimens that will be used to strengthen natural populations. The erytherin of Tahiti is one of the rare deciduous trees of Polynesia since it loses its leaves at the beginning of the dry season. Its flowers appear soon after and are yellow to orange-pink colour unlike the Polynesian introduce erythrin ('atae) for which the flowers are red.
These blooms correspond to the time of arrival of the whales in Polynesia (around August-September) hence the common name of « whale tree » given to these species. These plants multiply easily by cuttings but the arrival of the gall in 2010 led to growing them more in altitude where the disease is absent.

• Pacifigeron rapensis
Endemic to the high volcanic island of Rapa in the Southern Archipelago, this small plant (Asteraceae family) with a prostrate port of 10-50 cm is only found at the summit of Mount Perau (culminating at 650 m), on the ridges and steep slopes exposed. It is easily recognizable by its leathery leaves and its two types of flowers: yellow in the centre and white on the periphery. Still present on several stations in the 1930s, this species is no longer known since the 2000s of about twenty individuals recorded in two populations located between 500 and 600 m of altitude. Its habitat has declined sharply due to overgrazing caused by free-ranging herbivorous (including goats, horses and cattle), fires and invasive introduced plants.

Fare Rata, the French polynesia Post office wishes to contribute to the conservation effort by promoting our plants in critical danger of extinction through this philatelic issue.


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Unit price: 390 FCFP (3,27 €)
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