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For other uses, see Fuchsia (color) and Fuchsia (disambiguation).
Brincos De Princesa.jpg
Fuchsia hybrida
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Fuchsia
L. [1]

About 100; see text

Fuchsia /ˈfjuːʃə/ FEW-shə is a genus of flowering plants that consists mostly of shrubs or small trees. The first, Fuchsia triphylla, was discovered on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (present day Dominican Republic and Haiti) about 1696–1697 by the French Minim monk and botanist, Charles Plumier during his third expedition to the Greater Antilles. He named the new genus after the renowned German botanist Leonhart Fuchs (1501–1566).[2][3]


Fuchsia sp. in Japan

There are currently almost 110 recognized species of Fuchsia. The vast majority are native to South America, but with a few occurring north through Central America to Mexico, and also several from New Zealand to Tahiti. One species, F. magellanica, extends as far as the southern tip of South America, occurring on Tierra del Fuego in the cool temperate zone, but the majority are tropical or subtropical. Most fuchsias are shrubs from 0.2–4 m (8 in–13 ft 1 in) tall, but one New Zealand species, the kōtukutuku (F. excorticata), is unusual in the genus in being a tree, growing up to 12–15 metres (39–49 ft) tall.

Fuchsia leaves are opposite or in whorls of 3–5, simple lanceolate and usually have serrated margins (entire in some species), 1–25 cm long, and can be either deciduous or evergreen, depending on the species. The flowers are very decorative; they have a pendulous "teardrop" shape and are displayed in profusion throughout the summer and autumn, and all year in tropical species. They have four long, slender sepals and four shorter, broader petals; in many species the sepals are bright red and the petals purple (colours that attract the hummingbirds that pollinate them), but the colours can vary from white to dark red, purple-blue, and orange. A few have yellowish tones. The ovary is inferior and the fruit is a small (5–25 mm) dark reddish green, deep red, or deep purple berry, containing numerous very small seeds.

The fruit of all fuchsia species and cultivars is edible, with the berry of F. splendens reportedly among the best-tasting. Its flavor is reminiscent of citrus and pepper, and it can be made into jam. The fruits of some other fuchsias are flavorless or leave a bad aftertaste.[4]


Fuchsia hybrida

The majority of fuchsia species are native to Central and South America. A small additional number are found on Hispaniola (two species), in New Zealand (three species) and on Tahiti (one species). Philip A. Munz in his A Revision of the Genus Fuchsia classified the genus into seven sections of 100 species. More recent scientific publications, especially those by the botanists Dennis E. Breedlove of the University of California and, currently, Paul E. Berry of the University of Michigan, recognize 108 species and 122 taxa, organized into twelve sections. In New Zealand and Tahiti, section Skinnera now consists of only three species as F. × colensoi has been determined to be a naturally occurring hybrid between F. excorticata and F. perscandens. Also, F. procumbens has been placed into its own section, Procumbentes. Two other new sections are Pachyrrhiza and Verrucosa, each with one species. The Plant List, a cooperative endeavor by several leading botanical institutions to maintain a working list of all plant species, lists most currently accepted Fuchsia species and synonyms.[5]

The vast majority of garden hybrids have descended from a few parent species.[6]

Section 1: Ellobium[edit]

Mexico and Costa Rica. This section contains three species.

Section 2: Encliandra[edit]

Mexico to Panama. Flowers on the six species in this section have flat petals and short stamens and are reflexed into the tube. Fruits contain few seeds.

Section 3: Fuchsia[edit]

Fuchsia boliviana

Northern Argentina to Colombia and Venezuela, and Hispaniola. With sixty-four currently recognized species, Sect. Fuchsia (syn. Eufuchsia) is the largest section within the genus.[8] The flowers are perfect, with convolute petals. The stamens are erect and may or may not be exserted from the corolla; the stamens opposite the petals are shorter. The fruit has many seeds.

Section 4: Hemsleyella[edit]

Venezuela to Bolivia. The fifteen species in this section are characterised by a nectary that is fused with the base of the flower tube and petals that are partly or completely lacking.

Section 5: Jimenezia[edit]

Panama and Costa Rica.

Section 6: Kierschlegeria[edit]

Coastal central Chile. This section is made up of a single species with pendulous axillary pedicels. The leaves are sparse. The sepals are reflexed and slightly shorter than the tube.

Section 7: Pachyrrhiza[edit]


Section 8: Procumbentes[edit]

New Zealand.

Section 9: Quelusia[edit]

Fuchsia regia

Southern Argentina and Chile, and Southeastern Brazil. The nine species in this section have the nectary fused to the base of the tube, or hypanthium. The hypanthium is cylindrical and is generally no longer than the sepals. The stamens are long and are exserted beyond the corolla.

Section 10: Schufia[edit]

Mexico to Panama. These two species bear flowers in an erect, corymb-like panicle.

Section 11: Skinnera[edit]

New Zealand and Tahiti. The three living species have a floral tube with a swelling above the ovary. The sepals curve back on themselves and the petals are small or nearly absent. A new fossil species from the Early Miocene in New Zealand was described in October, 2013.

Section 12: Verrucosa[edit]

Venezuela and Colombia.


Selection of cultivated fuchsias at BBC Gardeners' World in 2011

Fuchsias are popular garden shrubs, and once planted can live for years with a minimal amount of care. The British Fuchsia Society[13] maintains a list of "hardy" fuchsias that have been proven to survive a number of winters throughout Britain and to be back in flower each year by July. Enthusiasts report that hundreds and even thousands of hybrids survive and prosper throughout Britain. In the United States, the Northwest Fuchsia Society maintains an extensive list of fuchsias that have proven hardy in members' gardens in the Pacific Northwest over at least three winters.[14]

Fuchsias from sections Quelusia (F. magellanica, F. regia), Encliandra, Skinnera (F. excorticata, F. perscandens) and Procumbentes (F. procumbens) have especially proven to be hardy in widespread areas of Britain and Ireland, as well as in many other countries such as New Zealand (aside from its native species) or the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. A number of species will easily survive outdoors in agreeable mild temperate areas. Though some may not always flower in the average British summer, they will often perform well in other favorable climatic zones. Even in somewhat colder regions, a number of the hardier species will often survive as herbaceous perennials, dying back and reshooting from below ground in the spring.

Due to the favorably mild, temperate climate created by the North Atlantic Current, fuchsias grow abundantly in the West Cork region of Ireland and in the Scilly Isles, and have even colonised wild areas there. While F. magellanica is not widespread in Scotland it has been known to grow wild in sheltered areas, such as the banks of local streams in Fife.[15] In the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, F. magellanica also easily survives regional winters.


Horticultural fuchsias may be categorised as upright and bushy or trailing, and some can be trained as hedges, such as F. magellanica. Faster-growing varieties are easiest to train.[16] Unless specific hardy varieties are chosen, most popular upright Fuchsias such as 'Ernie', 'Jollies Nantes' and 'Maria Landy' are not winter hardy,[4] but rather extremely tender (hardiness zone 10).


Sixty cultivated varieties of fuchsia have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Some cultivars popular in Great Britain include:

  • 'Alice Hoffman'[17] (pink sepals, white petals – hardy)
  • 'Dollar Princess'[18] (cerise sepals, purple petals – hardy)
  • 'Garden News'[19] (light pink sepals, double magenta petals – hardy)
  • 'Hawkshead' (white self)[21]
  • 'Lady Thumb' (compact, pink sepals, white petals)[22]
  • 'Mrs Popple'[23] (vigorous, red sepals, purple petals – hardy)
  • 'Riccartonii'[24] (crimson sepals, purple petals)
  • 'Swingtime' (double, scarlet sepals, white petals)[25]
  • 'Thalia'[26] (tryphilla group, orange)
  • 'Tom Thumb' (compact, pink sepals, mauve petals)[27]

Pests and diseases[edit]

Fuchsia with blossom opened

Fuchsias are eaten by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, such as the Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) and the Black-lyre Leafroller Moth ("Cnephasia" jactatana). Other major insect pests include aphids, mirid bugs such as Lygocoris, Lygus and Plesiocoris spp., vine weevils (Otiorhynchus spp.), and greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum). Problematic mites include the fuchsia gall mite (Aculops fuchsiae) and red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae).

Pronunciation and spelling[edit]

While the original pronunciation from the word's German origin is "fook-sya" /ˈfʊksja/, the standard pronunciation in English is "fyusha" /ˈfjuːʃə/. As a consequence, fuchsia is often misspelled as fuschia in English.


Leonhart Fuchs (1501–1566)

Leonhart Fuchs was born in 1501. He occupied the chair of Medicine at the Tübingen University from the age of 34 until his death, on 10 May 1566. Besides his medical knowledge, according to his record of activities which was extensive for the time, he studied plants. This was natural, as most of the remedies of the time were herbal and the two subjects were often inseparable.

In the course of his career Fuchs wrote De Historia Stirpium Commentarii Insignes, which was published in 1542. In honour of Fuchs' work the fuchsia received its name shortly before 1703 by Charles Plumier. It was Plumier who compiled his Nova Plantarum Americanum, which was published in Paris in 1703, based on the results of his plant-finding trip to America in search of new genera.

The fuchsia was introduced to England in the 18th century by Plumier who took some seeds there after his expedition. The species he took was Fuchsia triphylla flore coccinea where specimens appeared in France. There is a reference to a fuchsia under the name of "Thiles" in the Journal des Observations Botaniques in 1725. Thiles seems to be the French version of the Spanish, Thilco or Tilco. However, Thilco, or more properly Chilco, is derived from the name by which the indigenous Mapuche people of Southern Chile and Southwestern Argentina referred to their native Fuchsia magellanica. In the Mapuche language, Chilco means "that which grows near the water" and this is a reference to its being found growing abundantly in moist but well-drained areas along streams and lakes. In Chile today, F. magellanica is still called Chilco.[28]

Professor Philip Munz, in his A Revision of the Genus Fuchsia, 1793 says, however, that the fuchsia was first introduced into England by a sailor who grew it in a window where it was observed by a nurseryman from Hammersmith, a Mr. Lee, who succeeded in buying it and propagating it for the trade. This was one of the short tubed species such as magellanica or coccinea.

Charles Plumier (1646–1704), discovered the genus c. 1704

This report is further embellished in various publications where Captain Firth, a sailor, brought the plant back to England from one of his trips to his home in Hammersmith where he gave it to his wife. Later on James Lee of St. Johns Wood, nurseryman and an astute businessman, heard of the plant and purchased it for £80. He then propagated as many as possible and sold them to the trade for prices ranging from £10 to £20 each.

In the Floricultural Cabinet, 1855, there is a report which varies slightly from the above. Here it says that F. coccinea was given to Kew Garden in 1788 by Captain Firth and that Lee acquired it from Kew.

By this time plant-collecting fever had spread and many species of numerous genera were introduced to England, some living plants, others as seed. The following plants were recorded at Kew: F. lycioides, 1796; F. arborescens, 1824; F. microphylla, 1827; F. fulgens, 1830; F. corymbiflora, 1840; and F. apetala, F. decussata, F. dependens and F. serratifolia in 1843 and 1844, the last four species attributable to Messrs. Veitch of Exeter.

With the increasing numbers of differing species in England plant breeders began to immediately develop hybrids to develop more desirable garden plants. The first recorded experiments date to 1825 as F. arborescens Χ F. macrostemma and F. arborescens X F. coccinea where the quality of the resultant plants was unrecorded.

Between 1835 and 1850 there was a tremendous influx to England of both hybrids and varieties, the majority of which have been lost.

In 1848 Monsieur Felix Porcher published the second edition of his book Le Fuchsia son Histoire et sa Culture. This described 520 species. In 1871 in later editions of M. Porchers book reference is made to James Lye who was to become famous as a breeder of fuchsias in England. In 1883 the first book of English fuchsias was published.

Between 1900 and 1914 many of the famous varieties were produced which were grown extensively for Covent Garden market by many growers just outside London. During the period between the world wars, fuchsia-growing slowed as efforts were made toward crop production until after 1949, when plant and hybrid production resumed on a large scale.[6]

In the United States, members of the American Fuchsia Society brought back approximately 50 plants to California from a trip to Europe in 1930. Half of these were cultivated at the University of California Botanical Garden in Berkeley and the other half at the Berkeley Horticultural Nursery, a local business. Many American hybrids were the descendants of this 1930 group.[29][30]


  1. ^ Clive A. Stace (2010). "Fuchsia L. – fuchsias". New Flora of the British Isles (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 365. ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5. 
  2. ^ Charles Plumier. Nova Plantarum Americanum Genera, Paris, 1703.
  3. ^ (1910) The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information, 11th Edition: Volume XI, Franciscans to Gibbons The Encyclopædia Britannica Company: New York, page 272. Retrieved on 2007-09-25.
  4. ^ a b "Fuchsia". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Plant List – Fuchsia". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  6. ^ a b A. G. Puttock (1959). Lovely Fuchsias. London: Gifford. 
  7. ^ Fuchsia × bacillaris is a natural hybrid between F. microphylla ssp. microphylla and F. thymifolia ssp. thymifolia.
  8. ^ Berry, P. E. (1982). The systematics and evolution of Fuchsia Sect. Fuchsia (Onagraceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 69(1) 1–199.
  9. ^ a b Berry, P. E. (1995). Two new species of Fuchsia section Fuchsia (Onagraceae) from southern Ecuador. Novon: A Journal for Botanical Nomenclature 5(4) 318–22, f. 2.
  10. ^ Berry, P. E. (1988). Nomenclatural changes in the genus Fuchsia. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 75(3) 1150.
  11. ^ Berry, P. E., et al. (1988). Fuchsia pachyrrhiza (Onagraceae), a tuberous new species and section of Fuchsia from western Peru. Systematic Botany 13(4) 483-92.
  12. ^ Daphne E. Lee. "A fossil Fuchsia (Onagraceae) flower and an anther mass with in situ pollen from the early Miocene of New Zealand". amjbot.org. 
  13. ^ "British Fuchsia Society". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Northwest Fuchsia Society". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Gardening by the sea". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Bartlett, George (2005). Fuchsias: a Colour Guide. United Kingdom: Crowood Press. ISBN 1852239999. 
  17. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Fuchsia 'Alice Hoffman'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Fuchsia 'Dollar Prinzessin'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Fuchsia 'Garden News'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Fuchsia 'Genii'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Fuchsia 'Hawkshead'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  22. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Fuchsia 'Lady Thumb'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  24. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Fuchsia 'Riccartonii'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  25. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Fuchsia 'Swingtime'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  26. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Fuchsia 'Thalia'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  27. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Fuchsia 'Tom Thumb'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  28. ^ "Etymologia de CHILCO". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  29. ^ Pam Peirce (2004). Wildly Successful Plants: Northern California. Seattle: Sasquatch Books. 
  30. ^ American Fuchsia Society (1945). The Fuchsia Book. Berkeley: American Fuchsia Society. 

External links[edit]

  • Local and National Fuchsia Societies