Plants / Introduction of the Fuchsia / F. arborescens

Fuchsia arborescens

The first Mexican fuchsia made its appearance in the Botanical Magazine (plate 2620) in 1826, when F. arborescens was featured. William Bullock brought seeds of the plant, which he saw in the botanical garden in Mexico City during a visit to the country in 1822. Bullock, the proprietor of the Liverpool Museum in the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, was one of the first British visitors to Mexico after the country gained its independence from Spain in 1821. In Six Months' Residence and Travels in Mexico (1824) he described the botanical garden as a 'little paradise' where the plants produced 'a very different appearance to the dwarfish sickly exotics of our hot-house, which, with every possible care and attention, with difficulty linger a few years without reproducing their species'. He listed 31 plants which he obtained from Don Vicente Cervantes, the garden's director, of which F. arborescens was one.

Seed was also obtained around the same time from Robert Ponsonby Staples, a merchant who was appointed consul general of Acapulco in 1823 but removed the following year after failing to give up his commercial activities.

Seeds from both sources were raised by James Charles Tate at the Nursery and Botanic Garden in Sloane Street, Chelsea, which he took over in 1822.