Plants / Introduction of the Fuchsia / F. magellanica

Fuchsia magellanica

The attribution of F. coccinea's origin to Chile in Hortus Kewensis (1789) helped to create confusion with F. magellanica, which was from Chile and was first described by Lamarck in 1786. It arrived in England around the same time and was illustrated in [Curtis's Botanical Magazine (plate 97)] from a plant growing at Curtis's own botanic garden at Lambeth Marsh, erroniously described as F. coccinea.

F. magellanica, which thrived in the harsh conditions of Tierra del Fuego, became thoroughly confused with and supplanted the more tender species. In 1825 a variety of F. magellanica, then identified as F. gracilis, was described as a 'hardy frame plant, so easily propagated by cuttings, as already to have become common in the gardens about London' [Botanical Register (plate 847)].

During the 1830s the Botanical Magazine illustrated what were then considered three new species of fuchsia, but all of which are now considered to be variants of F. magellanica. One of these was described as F. globosa, an example of which was exhibited in March 1832 which 'was about two feet high, had been skilfully trained in a fan shape upon a small trellis, and produced a very beautiful effect' [Curtis's Botanical Magazine (plate 3364)]. Another, identified as F. discolor was grown from seed collected by James Anderson at Puerto Hambre on the Magellan Strait in Chile. Anderson was the botanical collector on the HMS Adventure, which accompanied the HMS Beagle in surveying that area between 1826 and 1830 on the voyage before that made famous by Charles Darwin. This fuchsia was considered to be the hardiest known, as might be expected from its origin, 'never injured by the winters even of Scotland'.[Curtis's Botanical Magazine (plate 3498)] The third, identified as F. macrostemma var. recurvata, was raised from seed at Glasnevin Botanic Garden in Dublin. [Curtis's Botanical Magazine (plate 3521)]

Varieties of F. magellanica