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Fuchsias Rise Again in the Bay Area

Articles: Fuchsias Rise Again in the Bay Area

Deformed vegetative growth caused by the fuchsia gall mite (Aculops fuchsiae) on a susceptible fuchsia. Photographs by David Goldberg, except as noted
Drawings of fuchsia blossoms tantalized Europeans well before the actual plants arrived. In 1695, Father John Plumier, a French Catholic priest, tried to send specimens of Fuchsia triphylla to Europe from the island we now call the Dominican Republic. He had made several drawings and was able to get them safely home, but all of the plants he had collected were lost when their ship sank in a storm. In spite of this inauspicious beginning, fuchsias have been collected from throughout their native range (Mexico to the southern tip of South America) and have become valued residents of our gardens.
The first fuchsias to become popular in Europe (Fuchsia triphylla and others) had long-tubed, red flowers. By the 1840s, a group of hybrids involving various species, but particularly F. magellanica and F. fulgens, had exceeded those first species in popularity. The new flowers were shorter and wider, and some were double, their many petals resembling the tutus of tiny ba...


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