Fuchsia is a genus of shrubby, flowering plants in the Onagraceae, the Evening Primrose family, of the order Myrtales. Besides Fuchsia, it includes a number of other popular garden plants, such as evening primroses (Oenothera), white gaura (Gaura lindheimeri), or mountain garland (Clarkia unguiculata). The widely distributed fireweed or rosebay willow herb (Epilobium angustifolium) is also a common weed in gardens.
Most species in this genus are found in Central and South America. Additionally, two species occur on the island of Hispaniola, three in New Zealand and one in the highlands of Tahiti.
The species listed here are those which are published and accepted as valid by Dr. Paul E. Berry, the world’s leading authority on the Genus Fuchsia, and a handful of other authors working on the genus.
Today, 108 species representing 122 taxa of the genus Fuchsia are scientifically recognized and organized into twelve sections based on shared characteristics. The Fuchsia section is the largest section with over 60 species. This section is therefore sometimes divided into a number of groups whereby species that are closely related are placed in a group. It is not a fixed division, but more an attempt at a somewhat easier orientation within the section.
Names which you might still come across in older references or publications aren’t current and aren’t listed below.
The pendulous flowers of fuchsias are decorative and profusely borne during the summer, or even all year. This has led to their early introduction and widespread use, especially as interspecific hybrids, in gardens. Generally, the flowers consist of four sepals over four shorter, broader petals at the end of a tube of varying length.
In the nine species of the Quelusia Section the sepals are bright red over petals of bright purple-blue. Other species appear more uniformly colored and range through shades of red and orange often with flourishes of paler color, yellow or some green on the petals and ends of the sepals. The flowers are a particular favorite of hummingbirds, but are also frequently visited by bees and butterflies.
The fruit is a small epiygnous berry, usually of a very dark color ranging from deep burgundy to deep purple-black when ripe, and contains many tiny seeds. It’s edible. The pleasant taste is variously described as slightly grapey or even peppery and can range from mildly sub-acid to sweet depending on the species.
The generally simple lanceolate leaves are usually serrated and opposite or held in whorls of three to five.