Guidelines for identification of a NoID fuchsia

You got a NoID fuchsia cultivar and want to try and track down the correct cultivar name? Bear in mind the chances of a correct outcome greatly depend on the effort YOU put in your search.

The FuchsiaFinder database lists approximately 21.000 fuchsia cultivar names. Many fuchsias are similar but different and there are even some fuchsia ‘look-alikes’. Even experts cannot tell them apart. Identification of unlabeled fuchsias is often hard. It is best practice not to guess the names of fuchsias because we run the risk of being wrong. Still there is no harm in trying but if you do try do it right. Having no name is better than having the wrong name.

Here are some tips

Preparation

This is the main step. Everything depends on this! If you do not take this step seriously then don’t bother. Do not waste anyone’s time and enjoy your unnamed fuchsia. The flowers are just as pretty without a name.
• Take a series of pictures of your plant : ideally foliage, buds, fresh flowers and mature flowers should be showing on the pictures. Also a few pictures of the plant as a whole showing the habitus are necessary.
• Write down every aspect of your plant that could be helpful : Is it a double, single or semidouble flower? Is it trailing or upright growing? where did you buy it? How old is it? Is it grown in shade or full sun? is it grown inside or outside? Does it grow easily or is it a rather difficult plant to grow? Is it hardy? Did you keep a list of you plants and thus have a list of possible names?…

You can download a grid paper template making it easy to get an idea of size of flowers and leaves here Picture template (24 downloads)

Actual search

There are a lot of resources available that can help you identify a fuchsia cultivar: specialist nurseries, fuchsia societies, fuchsia books, websites, fuchsia cultivar databases, facebook groups, google images. When you examine pictures pay special attention to individual flower features like shape, length and width of the tube, colour and length of the stamens, the way the sepals are held, etc. Every little detail is important as it can exclude a certain possible cultivar name.
• If you know where you got the NoID from then track back to the source. If a friend gave you a cutting, he or she might still know the name. If you bought your plant at a fuchsia specialist nursery then try and find it on their website. Refrain from sending NoID picture to nurseries. Owners have a business to run and will most likely not have time to answer such mails. If they have a facebook page then post on their facebook page. If they have time, they will answer there.
• Consult online fuchsia cultivar databases : FuchsiaFinder.com, Vanschaik.nu, DDFGG.de, Deutsche Fuchsien Gesellschaft, NKvF, BFS
Some of these databases have filters that can help you narrow down your search.

• Post your pictures and remarks to facebook groups where fuchsia enthusiasts exchange information. Search for Fuchsia in Focus Tips and Hints or ‘Fuchsia Lovers UK’ on Facebook. Beware, your NoID can quickly change into a FalseID. There are a lot of good souls around who want to give well-meant advice. Unfortunately many are not bothered by any knowledge about the thousands of different fuchsia cultivars. Wild guessing seems to be a universal sport. Well-meant good advice rarely concludes in correct identification of fuchsia cultivars. If you do resort to social media, value the advice of nurserymen and experienced growers over newcomers to fuchsia growing.

Aftermath

If your search has yielded some results then you should investigate each of the yielded cultivar names. Searching the different databases and the world wide web for images and descriptions is much more easy once you have a possible cultivar name. Your reverse search can exclude some yields or, if all went well, confirm a given cultivar name.
Bear in mind that for any give colour combination there are many similar cultivars. Meticulous comparison of flower and plant features will avoid false identifications and disappointment. Only label your plant container with that name if you are 100% positive the name is correct.
It is best practice to still treat this cultivar as a NoID. So do not spread cuttings of this plant to other fuchsia enthusiasts. There are already too many FalseID plants out there.

Enjoy your fuchsias

Remember : A NoID is better than a FalseID
If names are important to you only buy named cultivars