Plants / Introduction of the Fuchsia / F. procumbens

Fuchsia procumbens

Fuchsia procumbens was discovered on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand by Richard Cunningham in 1834. Cunningham, the son of a gardener and brother of another botanical explorer, had worked at Kew on the compilation of the second volume of the Hortus Kewensis. In 1832 he was appointed colonial botanist and superintendent of the Botanic Garden in Sydney. When on an expedition in New South Wales in 1835 he became separated from his party and camped with a group of Aborigines, who apparently killed him in the night when his strange behaviour alarmed them.

According to the Curtis's Botanical Magazine (plate 6139) F. procumbens was introduced into England by Theodore Williams, the vicar of Hendon, a noted clerical botanist whose garden was visited by Loudon in 1840, and by John Charles Blackett of Egham. No clue is provided as to where they obtained the plant from, though as Blackett was a naval officer he may have collected it in person. It only appeared in the Botanical Magazine forty years after its initial discovery.