How do I write it? Fuschia or Fuchsia?

by admin on September 2, 2011

As an enthusastic fuchsia grower I have to confess to getting rather irritated at the number of misspellings of the word fuchsia.

Fuchsia 'Winston Churchill' - not Fuschia

Fuchsia 'Winston Churchill'

Today I did a check. On Google it seems that there are almost as many searches for ‘fuschias’ and ‘fuschia plants’ as for fuchsias. The number of people who write the colour name putting the ‘s’ in the wrong place is also quite considerable. I have also seen it written as ‘fewshia’, ‘fushia’, and even worse, ‘fewsha’ and ‘fusha’.

It seems to me that the easiest way to ensure the correct order of the letters is to recall that the plant is named after a man with the surname Fuchs (German for fox). Well-known people with that name have included Sir Vivian Fuchs (1908-1999) the great trans-Antarctic explorer. More notorious than famous was the nuclear physicist and spy, Klaus Fuchs, who passed British and American atomic secrets to the Russians in the 1940s.

However, from the point of view of this site the most important Fuchs was the early German botanist Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1566), although he was not the discoverer of the fuchsia plant. That honour goes to the French scientist monk Dom Charles Plumier who found the previously unknown plant (fuchsia triphylla) during his time in the Caribbean in 1696/97. He named the new genus in honour of Leonhart Fuchs.

So when writing or typing ‘fuchsia’ remember, it is not ‘fuschia’ but Fuchs-ia, in memory of Leonhart.

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