A modern reference to temperate woody plants, including updated content from this site and much new material, can be found at Trees and Shrubs Online.

Fuchsia thymifolia H.B.K.

Modern name

Fuchsia thymifolia Kunth

It is uncertain whether this species is in cultivation in Britain at the present time, but the fuchsia ‘Reflexa’, described below under F. × bacillaris, is very near to it. F. thymifolia is a native of Mexico and N. Guatemala, allied to F. microphylla and occupying similar habitats. It has been confused with that species but differs in the following leading characters: Leaves thin, ovate or elliptic, relatively much wider than in F. microphylla, and entire or slightly serrated. Tube of flower definitely funnel-shaped (obconic), not cylindric as in F. microphylla, greenish white or pale pink; sepals coloured like the tube, slenderly pointed, reflexed, their tips free in the bud-stage. Petals pink at first but deepening to maroon-crimson as the flower ages. A further distinction given by Breedlove in his monograph on the section Encliandra is that in this species the nectary is eight-lobed (entire and disk-like in F. microphylla).

F. thymifolia was introduced in 1824 and again in 1831, but seems to have given way in gardens to hybrids between it and F. microphylla (see F. × bacillaris).

F. × bacillaris Lindl. F. cinnabarina McClintock; F. reflexa Hort., in part – The fuchsia described by Lindley as F. bacillaris in 1832 was raised from seeds collected in Mexico. Long considered to be a species, it has recently been identified by D. E. Breedlove (op. cit., pp. 59-60) as a hybrid between F. microphylla subsp. microphylla and F. thymifolia subsp. thymifolia. Such hybrids occur in the wild and could have arisen spontaneously in British gardens, or been raised deliberately, at any time from the late 1820s onward. There are at least three cultivated fuchsias of the section Encliandra in commerce which appear to be hybrids of this parentage. They are:

1. A fuchsia which seems to agree closely with a plant of California gardens that was recently given botanical status by Miss McClintock under the name F. cinnabarina. It has thin leaves, shaped as in F. thymifolia, but curiously undulated, as if the plant was affected by a virus-disease, though it seems healthy enough. The flowers have a funnel-shaped tube as in F. thymifolia and reflexed sepals, but they are larger (tube up to 14 in. long) and differently coloured: at first the petals are Mandarin Red and the tube similarly though less intensely coloured but later the whole flower darkens to varying shades of vermilion. This fuchsia is in commerce as F. bacillaris, but also (wrongly) as F. parviflora. In Scotland it is grown as “F. aurantiaca”.

2. A plant seen under the horticultural name F. cottinghamii has leaves shaped as in F. thymifolia but very leathery and glossy. The flowers are brilliant red, resembling those of F. microphylla in their cylindrical tube and spreading (not reflexed) sepals. This could also belong to F. × bacillaris. It is very vigorous and floriferous under glass.

3. The third fuchsia in this group is very near to F. thymifolia, and shows beautifully the darkening of flower-colour with age characteristic of that species. But the flowers are somewhat larger than in wild plants of F. thymifolia and more deeply coloured when young. It is cultivated under the erroneous name F. parviflora and also as F. ‘Reflexa’.



Other species in the genus