Other Common Names:
The other common names for the shrub Fuchsia boliviana is fuchsia.
Fuchsias originate from South America, growing wild there and in New Zealand. They were first imported into Britain around 1789. During the late 1800s, hybridising of Fuchsias reached its height, when the plants were highly valued by the Victorians. Their popularity after Victorian times declined only to begin another revival from the 1950s until the present time. Many of the original Fuchsia varieties are still popular today.
Fuchsias are one genus of the botanical family Onagraceae, and they are therefore related to other members of the genus such as godetia and evening primrose. The first to be named was F. triphylla, found in the Dominican Republic, probably around the end of the 17th century. The discoverer, Father Charles Plumier, was a French Franciscan monk and botanist who named the plant after Leonhart Fuchs - a 16th-century German doctor and herbalist. The American Fuchsia Society founded in Berkeley in 1929 meets in the County Fair Building, and is the main source for fuchsia distribution and information.
Medium sized tree to 15-25ft. Growth is in a spreading, somewhat shrubby habit. Although they look very exotic, the fuchsia flower is no different in structure to other flowers. The flower is held by a thin stalk which swells out to form the seed case (ovary). The seed case develops into a tube formed by four sepals. When the flower is only a bud, the sepals are closed. As the flower bursts open, the sepal's part and curl upward. Red (or sometimes white) trumpet-like flowers in hanging, terminal clusters, followed by cylindrical dark-purple berries.
The flower itself (corolla) consists of many petals from which the stamens and stigma protrude. The flower colours range from deepest purple to delicate shades of blue, from flaming red to the palest of pinks. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, birds. The ovary is inferior and the fruit is a small (5-25 mm) dark reddish green, deep red, or deep purple, edible epigynous berry containing numerous very small seeds.
Original Fuchsia species can be found particularly in Central and South America, usually in mountainous areas or on the edge of rainforests. The great majority are native to South America, but with a few occurring north through Central America to Mexico, and also several from New Zealand, and Tahiti.
Grows quite well in shady or part-sun environments, as well as foggy areas. Bolivian Fuchsia also thrives in cooler, subtropical-like environments. Protect from direct sun, and temperatures exceeding 105F.It is found in track and stream sides, forest margins, disturbed and intact forest.
Fuchsias appreciate well-dug fertile soil that does not dry out, but is not water-logged. All varieties of soil suit them as long as these conditions can be met by extra watering and/or feeding where they are not naturally present. Dig in as much organic matter as possible before planting to increases drainage and fertility. A generous couple of handfuls of bonemeal (per square metre / yard) should be incorporated into the soil when digging to increase it's fertility throughout the season ahead. Seed are best sown as soon as it is ripe though it can also be sown in the spring. Surface sow the seed in pots in a warm greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination should take place in less than 6 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Inter-nodal cuttings of greenwood, 5 - 8cm long, May/June in a frame. Cuttings usually succeed at any time during the growing season.
The flowers which include singles, semi-doubles and doubles, and can be upward or outward facing are in bloom from June through September. But however flowers are borne in clumps, and cover the tree for most of the year.
Pests and Diseases
Look for attacks of whitefly or greenfly. The bugs can either be squashed manually or treated with a proprietary spray.Fuchsias are eaten by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, such as the Elephant Hawk-moth.
The fruits and the flowers
are the most commonly used parts of
the plant both for its medicinal
and commercial applications.
• Though it is of commercial importance for its decorative purposes it is not known for its medicinal values.
• Fuchsias add colour to borders, pots and hanging baskets.
• Fruits are eaten raw, but the plant is most commonly grown for its ornamental flowers.
• Excellent jam can be made from the berries of some varieties.