A Brief History Of The Fuchsia
The   first   fuchsia   was   discovered   in   the   Dominican   Republic   in   the   late   17th   Century   by   Father   Charles Plumier,   a   missionary   and   botanist   of   that   time.   He   named   the   plant   Fuchsia   triphylla   coccinea   after Leonard   Fuchs,   a   German   botanist   who   had   died   100   years   earlier.   Incidentally,   his   name   was   pronounced ‘Fooks’ so perhaps we should be pronouncing fuchsias as ‘fooksias'. This original fuchsia can still be grown today under the name of F. triphylla.
After   the   war   the   interest   in   fuchsias   continued,   particularly   in   the   U.S.A   when   the American   Fuchsia   Society   was   founded   in   1929.   Members travelling in Europe took back varieties which the breeders got to work on and produced a range of plants with bigger and better blooms. These plants were well received back in Europe and were a massive contribution to the thousands of varieties we see today.
With   the   discovery   of   other   fuchsia   species   it   wasn’t   long   before   the   hybridisers   got   to   work.   The   varieties   we   see   today are   the   result   of   many,   many   years   of   careful   hybridising.   Not   all   were   the   result   of   long   hours   of   pollinating   and   cross   pollinating   or   selecting   the best   one   out   of   hundreds   of   seedlings   or   the   long   wait   for   the   first   flower   to   appear   to   see   if   it   was   unique.   Quite   a   few   were   chance   seedlings,   the most   famous   one   being   ‘Mieke   Meursing’   which   was   found   growing   on   the   bench   under   a   plant   of   ‘R.A.F.’   It   turned   out   to   make   one   of   the   biggest impacts   on   the   show   benches   ever   seen.   It   was   a   delight   for   both   the   exhibitor   and   nurseryman.   It   had   all   the   qualities   needed   for   a   show   plant   and it produced enough cutting material to make any nurseryman more than happy. Nature takes over again!    Fuchsias   were   at   their   peak   of   popularity   in   the   Victorian   times   when   the   head   gardeners   of   large   houses   grew   pillars,   standards   and   pyramids   to line   the   driveways.   One   such   gentleman   was   James   Lye   who   was   head   gardener   at   Clyffe   Hall,   Market   Lavington.   He   became   a   grower,   exhibitor and   hybridist   of   fuchsias   and   produced   plants   eight   to   ten   feet   high   and   four   to   five   feet   across   the   base   and   by   1866   was   described   as   Champion Fuchsia Grower in the West of England. This popularity lasted up until the First World War when the greenhouses they were grown in were turned over to producing food.
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Fuchsia Triphylla
A Brief History Of The Fuchsia