Orkney’s Wild Fuchsia

fuchsiaWherever you go in the Orkney Islands you are very likely to come across fuchsia growing alongside paths and on emankments.

Fuchsia Magellanica Riccartonii is a naturalised alien, thought to be  introduced from South America, where it’s native home is Chile.  It is one of the hardiest Fuchsias, forming patches of dense scrub along paths, tracks and waterways. It is fast growing and can often be found reaching 3 metres or more in some areas.

This Fuchsia generally dies back with the first sign of frost, but as the Orkney Isles are warmed by the Gulf Stream, it is obvious that it can thrive unhindered for mots of the year, especially in the Western regions.

Leaves are dark green, serrated and are arranged opposite each other on the stem.

The four red sepals which form the outer part of the flower, turn hedgerows crimson in the summer and autumn but the inner deep purple petals are quite short, unlike their showy commercial cousins. Eight long red protruding stamens bear purple anthers allowing easy pollination by local bees and insects.

It is widely used as a hedging plant, because of its vigorous and dense growth and can be found bounding many of  the gardens in Kirkwall and Stromness.

Related topics;
BBC GardeningHow to grow hardy Fuchsia
The British Fuchsia Society – Everything you need to know about Fuchsia.