Fucshia perscandens (Scrambling Fuchsia)
Species: F. perscandens
Binomial Name: Fucshia perscandens
Common name: Scrambling Fuchsia
Fucshia perscandens is a native species of fushia which unlike the larger tree, F. excorticata, is a semi-trailing, climbing shrub and is of generally spreading habit, reproducing by new shoots which layer themselves to form further plants. It is not readily noticed in the wild, especially in the dormant period, when it resembles a mound of twigs. It can grow as a climber (in forest) or as a mound in the open.
It can be found in the North and South Islands, found from near Pipiwai, Northland to Southland. It is often uncommon over large parts of its range. It grows in swamp forest and forest margins in damp and well sheltered places on the margins of lowland forest.
The strong main stems can grow up to 5cm in diameter, are sparingly branched and have a pale brown, flaking bark. Foliage is rather sparse and the leaves, carried on slender petioles, are pale green on the upper side, and whitish green on the reverse. Flowers appear in spring/autumn directly from the trunk or slim branches, either singly or, occasionally, in sets of two or three, and are held on slender stems. The flowers resemble those of F. excorticata (Tree fushia) but are shorter and not as slender. They appear in male, female and hermaphrodite. The tube is green shading into a reddish brown, with sepals a reddish brown at the base shading out to green at the centre and tips. The small corolla is a brownish purple and the stamens are prominent. The flowers are closely followed by red/purple berries, which are filled with masses of tiny seeds. These ripen to a very dark purple colour, and are not as prolific as F. excorticata.
Both the flowers and the berries are a valuable food source for birds.
Photographed mid September Pukatea Dell next to the Te Henui walkway
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