Phygelius (Cape Fuschia)
Cape Fuchsia (Phygelius ‘Passionate’) is a perennial that keeps the hummingbirds happy from June right to the end of fall. This cultivar is in our Backyard Bird Garden at VanDusen and is a hummingbird perfect plant. Hummingbirds are attracted to colour and flower shape. Cape Fuchsia’s tubular flowers are a brilliant orange-red. A flower shape and colour that the hummingbirds never forget.
Cape Fuchsia is native to South Africa. Our Southern Hemisphere Garden has lots of the Cape Fuchsia hybrid (Phygelius x rectus ‘Moonraker’) growing near the lake in bed 57. It is taller than Phygelius ‘Passionate’ and jump starts every other plant around. By the end of fall, its yellow flowers are finished, but ‘Moonraker’ has expanded its view of the lake. More about these two cultivars.
Phygelius is a genus of woody based sub-shrubs with two species, P. aequalis and P. capensis. When these two species are crossed, the resulting hybrid is often but not always designated as ‘x rectus’. Of the various hybrids for sale today, the parentage is likely to be a cross of the two species or a cross of one species with an existing hybrid or a hybrid mutation. These hybrids grow up to 1 m/3 ft.
The genus name, Phygelius, probably comes from the Greek word ‘phyge’ meaning flight or avoidance ‘in consequence of its having so long escaped the research of botanists,’ according to W.J. Hooker (1855). The pictures were taken in our Backyard Bird Garden and Southern Hemisphere Garden.
Text and photos by Hughie Jones