• The history of Fuchsia

At the request of Louis XIV, it was Colbert's cousin who entrusted Charles Plumier with the task of leading two expeditions, the main aim of which was to determine the quinquinas (its bark provided the quinine necessary to cure malaria). It was around 1696 that Charles Plumier discovered a small shrub in Santo Domingo with the indigenous name "molle ecantu", known as the beauty bush.

The Reverend Charles Plumier dedicated this plant to the memory of Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1566), a Bavarian physician-botanist and professor at the University of Thuringia, who was also known for his knowledge of plants. In 1542, he wrote a renowned herbarium, Historia stirpium, with beautiful woodcuts and descriptions of more than 500 plants, many of which could be used in medicine. Charles Plumier also discovered many other tropical species and contributed considerably to the botany of his time. Known for his work on taxonomy and plant description, which contributed to the classification of plant species. He published several books on the plants of his time, including the "Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera" (1703), which describes the specimens he collected during his travels. His discovery of fuchsia helped popularise the plant in Europe and played an important role in its history.

When PLUMIER described the fuchsia in 1703, he also described the first known species, which he named "Fuchsia triphylla, flore coccinea", i.e. three-leaved fuchsia with scarlet flowers.

Plumier undertook four trips to the Americas in the service of Louis XIV, where he collected plant specimens and studied the flora and fauna of these regions. He visited the West Indies, Mexico and Guatemala, and brought back to France a large number of rare and exotic plant specimens. During his fourth voyage, in November 1704 or 1706 according to sources, Charles PLUMIER died just before his return from Peru, victim of pleurisy. The boat on which he had taken his herbarium and plants (and, who knows, a fuchsia specimen?) was sunk on the return journey to Europe. He left behind numerous manuscripts and over 2,000 drawings of American fauna, and no less than 4,000 drawings of plants.