Plants / Introduction of the Fuchsia / F. splendens

Fuchsia splendens

From the highlands of Oaxaca in southern Mexico Theodor Hartweg sent back to England F. splendens, nicknamed the chilli pepper fuchsia. Kew also received herbarium specimens of this plant from the Belgian collector Jean Jules Linden and from the trader George Ure Skinner. Linden was the youngest member of a team of collectors sponsored by the Belgian government, who had made their first expedition to Brazil in 1835, when the eldest of them was 25. Between 1837 and 1840 they explored Cuba and Mexico and collected F. splendens in the Chiapas highlands in the south of Mexico. Skinner probably collected his specimen across the border in Guatemala, as he was based in Guatemala city, but had apparently not provided Hooker with any information about the location.

In Curtis's Botannical Magazine (plate 4082) Hooker described F. splendens as a 'very handsome Mexican species of a very favourite species, though perhaps not as striking as the name would lead one to infer'.