Friday 2 April 2021

fuchsia splendens

Though our prized exemplar did not make it through the winter sadly, we did rather find it interesting to learn how this plant of the month, the fuchsia, died of an over-exposure of a different sort though its reputation is now somewhat rehabilitated. First described by a French friar and botanist under commission of Louis XIV stationed on Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) in the 1690s, the genus was named in honour of the German Renaissance researcher and professor Leonhart Fuchs of the previous century and considered one of the fathers of the field. In the following decades, it started to be cultivated in Europe and parallel the rise in cheap printing and lithography which resulting in multiple copies from the same prepared page easily reproduced without sacrificing the colour and detail that the flower highlighted and quickly became popular, and oversold eventually victim of its own success. While a number of enthusiasts and nurseries continued to experiment with breeding new types, public tastes were shifting, ultimately went for other novel plants including ferns, orchids, decorative palms and other ornamental plants.