Croatian post issued a set of three postage stamps of Croatian Flora – Fruits featuring Strawberry, Grapes and Gooseberry.
1. WOODLAND STRAWBERRY
Woodland strawberry is s low perennial herb growing in temperate zones of north hemisphere. From the underground root there grow flowering stems, runners (stolons) and toothed trifoliate leaves. Flowers on long pedicles have 5 white petals with numerous pistils and stamens. Apart from a real calyx with five sepals, the flower of woodland strawberry has also an outer calyx with five small leaves, that protrude on the fruit or are turned backwards. The fruit of woodland strawberry, with an exceptionelly characteristic smell and taste, is often wrongly considered broad bean. Actually, the strawberry is a typical example of aggregate fruit, with the structure built of fleshy receptacle with numerous separate fruits – small nuts.
Grapevine, together with wheat and olive, is among the oldest cultivated plants of the ancient world and still the most spread fruit on our planet. The wild subspecies of grapevine (subsp. sylvestris) is a creeping plant that can reach up to 15 m height, coils around its supporting rod thanks to its long and short offshoots with tendrils. The leaves are on long stems and lobate in shape. Tiny flowers are divided in male and female blossoms, gathered in peak clusters. The domesticated subspecies of grapevine (subsp. vinifera or sativa) has hermaphrodite flowers, whereof the female ones give fruit – soft berries with several seeds each. There are almost 20.000 described sorts of grapevine, which differ in their ripening time, resistance to climate factors, diseases and parasites, but first of all in their fruits that can be used in wine production and that are of different colour, size, shape, taste and smell of their clusters.
Gooseberry (syn. R. grossularia) is 1 – 3 m high, broad bush belonging to the genus of Ribes. Some botanists are of the opinion that the gooseberries significantly differ from ribes (currant) and that they belong to separate genus, Grossularia, after which – earlier in history, the entire plant family has been named. Thin, hairy gooseberry offsets are spirally overgrown by sharp, greyish spines, which are not present in ribes, while the hairy leaves are small and lobate. The bell-shaped greenish flowers, are hanging singly, in pairs or by three. The fruit is more or less hairy berry of a diameter 1 – 3 cm, white, red, green or yellow in colour, depending on the sort (at least 200). The yellow berries are considered to be the most tasteful as food, and the wine made from them has the taste similar to champagne. The red berries are as a rule the sourest but also the richest in vitamin C. Gooseberry is native to Europe and West Asia. In South Europe gooseberry grows in moist and cold habitats in schrubberies and woods at the foot of hills; it is relatively unknown sort, rare in cultivation.