Born 20th April 1646 Charles Plumier was a famous Franciscan monk, vegetarian and botanist. He was best known for his 3 expeditions to the Caribbean in the 1690's. During his third voyage as a missionary in 1695-97 he visited the foothills of Santo Domingo where he discovered the fuchsia which he named "Fuchsia Triphylla flore coccinea", after a German doctor and herbalist Leonhart Fuchs. It was here that he that he discovered many ferns along with begonias, magnolias and lobelia.
All the members of the genus, with the exception of the New Zealand species, F. excorticata, F. Colensoi and F. procumbens, are natives of Central and South America - occurring in the interior of forests or in damp and shady mountainous situations. There are currently almost 110 recognised species of fuchsia. The majority are tropical or sub-tropical except for F.magallenica which occurs in a temperate climate.
The fuchsia is often thought of as part of any English garden, however this is not so. Development of the fuchsia throughout the years has been varied. It is recorded in the Botanical magazine that the first fuchsia to reach England was in 1789. How it got here is a matter of conjecture and much has been written and speculated about this.
Within a few years many other fuchsia species were introduced into England where they were crossed and re-crossed. By the late 1800's the fuchsia was highly prized by the Victorians. Since then it has taken many, many years of dedicated hybridizers with infinite patience to improve the quality of blooms, foliage and growing habit of the fuchsia plants we have today.