Skinnera

This is the only section of fuchsia spontaneously growing outside the American continent – New Zealand and the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia. 

Compared to the other sections of the genus Fuchsia, this section is more interesting than beautiful, although on closer inspection the flowers are quite fascinating. They are all winter bloomers on the bare wood, before the leaves emerge. They are small, inconspicuous, green to purple-colored flowers that, because the plants are usually bare, do stand out. They all have the same blue pollen as F. procumbens. F. procumbens, formerly included here, now forms a section of its own in Procumbentes (Goodley & Berry 1995).

This section consists of three woody species and one natural hybrid. This is the only group of fuchsia spontaneously growing outside the American continentTwo are found throughout New Zealand and one in drier highlands on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia. They form trees or shrubs and one liana all with alternate, opposite or ternate leaves. The solitary, axillary flowers are pendulous or divergent, with a floral tube 6 to 22 mm long and have smooth, band-type nectaries. The sepals are green, later turning red or purple when mature, and the petals are purple. The stamens occur in two unequal series with blue pollen. The seeds number between five and 700, arranged in several rows per locule.

This section’s name is derived from the Rev. Richard Skinner, an English botanist, who was the rector of Bassingham in Lincolnshire from 1774. He was well known in the botanical circles of his time and a friend of J. Reinhold Forster and his son, who named Skinnera excorticata for him in 1776, as well as of Sir Joseph Banks. Alas for the honor, Skinnera excorticata, a plant actually already collected in New Zealand by Banks & Solander in 1769, was never validly published. It was moved to Fuchsia when Carl Linnaeus the Younger recognized the connection in 1781. The Swiss botanist, Augustin Paramus de Candolle (1778-1841), however, revived Skinnera as the name of one of the then two novel sections into which he divided the genus Fuchsia in 1828. The name is sometimes incorrectly seen as Skinneria. (Godley & Berry 1995)