Fuchias in the City
All About Fuchsias
The who, what, where, how and why of them.

Fuchsia is a genus of shrubby, flowering plants in the Onagraceae, the Evening Primrose family, of the order Myrtales. There are 108 species with 122 taxa scientifically recognized and grouped into 12 sections. The pendulous flowers are decorative and profusely borne during the summer, or even all year. This has led to their early introduction and widespread use, especially as interspecific hybrids, in gardens.
Fun Fuchsia Facts
Believe it or not, there were once fuchsias growing in Antarctica. And in Australia while they were at it. Continental drift northward and desertification caused their extinction in Australia, glaciation in Antarctica.
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Like the chicken and the egg, which came first, the hummingbird or the fuchsia? The fuchsia first appeared in North America about 41 mya, spreading southwards. The hummingbird first evolved in Eurasia from swifts about 42 mya. Somehow they got to the New World by 20 million years later, before dying out in the Old, and differentiated spectacularly in their new home. So the fuchsia was actually here first!

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The British musician, Sting (Gordon Sumner, b. 1951), and his first wife, the actress Frances Tomelty (b. 1948), named their second child Fuchsia Katherine Sumner.

Fuchsia was born in 1982 but goes by Kate.

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The USS Fuchsia (1863-65) was a steamer in the Potomac Flotilla assigned to reconnaissance and patrol duty against the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Fuchsia was often fired on—and returned fire—in the course of her service.

Who says fuchsias aren't tough!

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In New Zealand, the blue pollen of F. excorticata was once used as make-up by Maori women.

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The first use of the word fuchsia to mean a color seems to be recorded in the Daily News as fuchsia-red in 1895. Today it usually describes a bright purple-pink, and is a synonym of magenta.

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Fuchsia berries are edible. Their pleasant taste is variously described as slightly grapey or even peppery and can range from mildly sub-acid to sweet depending on the species or cultivar.

In fact, all parts of the fuchsia are edible. So toss a few flowers onto a salad and enjoy the fiesta!

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The Picunche Indians of Chile produced a dye from the roots of F. magellanica to color their wool black.

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In the Western "Language of Flowers", fuchsias might represent "Confiding Love" or "Amiability". But the East seems to have gotten it better. In Japan, you can never go wrong if you bring a fuchsia for your hosts because they're a floral symbol of "Good Taste".

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In March 2011, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra gave an hour-long concert at London's Cadogan Hall to a packed house of plants, including many tasteful fuchsias. The concert was organized to test the theory that classical music helps plants grow better and was appropriately called, "The Flora Seasons: Music To Grow To".

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Originally native from northern Argentina to southern Peru, F. boliviana was brought into cultivation by the Incas for its tasty berries. Still sometimes found in local markets, the berries are often called Corazon Corazon because they're thought to help ward off depression. The species is now widely naturalized from Peru to Central America and even across the globe to India.

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F. aquaviridis was named in honor of two amateur British fuchsia collectors, Dave Green and Eileen Waters. The pair discovered their new fuchsia growing in the Parque Nacional Podocarpus in Ecuador. As "green waters", the species epithet is an amusing latinization of their last names.

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The wood of New Zealand’s tree fuchsia, F. excorticata, is so dense and hard that it’s nearly unburnable. It was often called bucket-of-water wood by early European settlers because it was about as useful as a bucket of water for starting fires. But they did find it useful for carving durable objects, such as combs.

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The oldest living fuchsias recorded in the United States are at Olivas Adobe in Ventura, California. They were planted in 1899.

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Several species grow down to sea level but the highest is F. apetala. It's found in the mountains of Bolivia and Peru growing up to 13,900 feet (4200 m) above sea level.
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The first fuchsia with an all-white calyx (tube and sepals) appeared in 1840. 'Venus Victrix' was a chance seedling sown by John Gilliver, gardener to the Rev. William Marriott Smith-Marriott at Rectory Park in Horsmonden, Kent. It was bought and propagated by neighboring nurseryman Thomas Cripps and created quite a stir when he sent to it out to the public in 1842.

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Fuchsia is the name of a British folk-rock band formed in 1970. They released one eponymous album in 1971 before disbanding that same year.

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The colors fuchsia (properly fuchsine) and magenta are actually identical.

Both are rosaniline hydrochloride, a bright synthetic dye first developed in 1856

The dye was given these two competitive commercial names separately in France and England.


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Donegal tweed, handwoven in Ireland's County Donegal, is dyed naturally using local plants such as blackberries gorse, moss…

...and fuchsias.


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The American Fuchsia Society (AFS) was founded in San Francisco, California in 1929, making it the world's first and oldest specialist fuchsia society.

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The British Fuchsia Society was founded in 1938, making it the second oldest after the American Fuchsia Society (1929).

It is, however, the world's largest.

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Fuchsia antiqua is the oldest fuchsia yet discovered.

Unfortunately it's also the oldest extinct fuchsia yet discovered.

It was described in 2013 from fossils found in limestone in a mining pit in Southern New Zealand and was last seen about twenty-three million years ago, in the Miocene Epoch.


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