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The fuchsia genus includes about a hundred species of deciduous or evergreen shrubs, originating in Central and Southern America and New Zealand. Generally in Italy the little rustic species of small or medium size are cultivated, which are used as annuals or as perennials to be collected in a temperate greenhouse during the winter; however there are many rustic species, which can be used as garden shrubs, actually in our country they are not very widespread.
These shrubs have very branched, semi-woody, green or reddish stems, which tend to lignify over the years; the foliage is bright green in color, and oval or lanceolate, the leaves can have whole or serrated margins; most of the cultivated species are evergreens. Most of the species remain close to 25-40 cm in size, although the rustic species can reach 100-150 cm; in nature they develop up to 2-3 m in height; there are many differences in size and bearing of the different species: for example a species native to New Zealand, Fucsia excorticata, is a medium-sized tree, while Fucsia procumbens has a creeping bearing.
The flowers are among the most spectacular and exotic, they bloom from late spring until autumn, they are pendulous, formed by four elongated sepals, often gathered to form a long tubular shape; the petals are four, but there are many hybrid double-flowered or double-flowered varieties. These definitely particular flowers commonly take the name of earrings or ballerinas, precisely because of their pendulous shape; the botanical species have pink or red flowers, over the years, however, varieties have been created with flowers of various colors, from white to orange, from lilac to blue, from red to purple. The flowers are followed by small, elongated, fleshy berries, containing some small fertile seeds; the berries of fuchsia they are edible.
Origins, description and diffusion
It is a plant native to Central and South America, but some species also come from New Zealand. The first description was made in the late 1600s in Santo Domingo. The name Fuchsia was given to it in honor of the German botanist Leonhard Fuchs. From the name of the flower comes that of the color, a very intense pink. It began to spread widely in England from the mid to late 19th century. The British immediately fell in love with it to the point that the breeders immediately started looking for new species and endeavored to create new and colorful cultivars.
It also became very popular in the rest of Europe and the United States. Still today in the United Kingdom it is one of the most loved plants, widely used on windowsills and even for the creation of flower beds, borders and hedges. The genus has more or less 100 species. For the most part they are shrubs or small trees with an erect or decumbent bearing. They have single flowers or collected in racemes, axillary. They consist of an elongated central tube and 4 lateral sepals with a usually contrasting color. They can develop a cherry-like edible fruit, dark red.
It is very difficult that in our climates they are able to produce seeds and if you want to get them you have to proceed to artificial pollination. In fact, they are plants that live in symbiosis with hummingbirds and only these small birds in nature are suitable for the purpose.