Comments re: Fuchsia decidua

Dennis Szeszko
Tue, 11 Jul 2006 12:06:23 PDT
I recently saw either this Fuchsia species or F. fulgens in flower around
the beginning of May.  (I am not 100% sure of the identity of the plant and
these two species are very similar.)  The flowers are spectacular and look
like hanging, red/green rocket ships.  The plants are not strictly epiphytic
because many of the plants also grow as lithophytes in small pockets of dirt
between rocks or, indeed, upon the rocks themselves.  The plants grow at an
elevation of roughly 1800 meters in oak forest in Amanalco, Mexico State.
The plants that I saw were growing in an area of rocky escarpments that used
to be an ancient lava flow.  (Try to imagine an entire oak forest growing
directly on top of volcanic rock!)

The roots of the plant look like yucca tubers.  The plant has older thick
branches at the top of the root stock that do not die back completely.
Flowers emerge with the new growth at the tips of the branches at the
beginning of the rainy season in May.  I collected one plant that I tied to
a Prunus sp. in my backyard.  I will try to take some pictures of the
flowers next spring and post them to the Wiki.  Given the information about
its lifestyle, in the opinion of others, could this Fuchsia be considered a
"bulb" for the purpose of publishing the photos to the wiki?

This discussion about an epiphytic Fuchsia brings to mind a Dahlia species
reported from the extreme southern end of Chiapas state in Mexico near the
border with Guatemala.  It is exceedingly rare and has only been seen a few
times in the wild, but it also grows as an epiphyte in the jungle.  It uses
its tubers in much the same way that epiphytic orchids use their pseudobulbs
to survive periods of drought.  I don't know what the Dahlia species is
named, and I think that it may still lack a formal botanic description.


> 1.  Fuchsia decidua is an oddity which I saw years ago in the Sierra de
> Minatlan in western Jalisco.  It has a few long, thick, spongy roots, not
> defined
> into potato-like tubers, but still tuberous.  The thick roots are buried
> in
> moss high up on the trunks of oaks.

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