The Fuchsia Spotlight. Fuchsia juntasensis

Fuchsia juntasensis

Fuchsia juntasensis Kuntze is restricted to cloud forest on the northeast slopes of the Andes in Bolivia's Cochabamba Department, where it occurs at elevations between about 1,900 to 2,800 meters. Flowering is primarily in the dry season from June-October. It belongs to the fifteen apetalous fuchsias in the Hemsleyella Section of the genus.

Otto Kuntze
The species was first published in 1898 by controversial German apothocary-turned-botanist, Otto Kuntze (1843-1907). Written in his incredibly dense and almost impenetrable style, the three-volume, 2.226-page treatise, Revisio Generum Plantarum (1891-1898) described the almost 8,000 plants he had collected on his various trips around the world, In the 1890s Kuntze's trip to South America covered almost all of its countries. While in Bolivia, Kuntze recorded that he collected F. juntasensis between Cochabamba and the Rio Juntas at about 3,000 meters in elevation.

Revisio Generum Plantarum, Kuntze also single-handedly attempted to completely revise taxonomy according to his own novel nomenclature, while claiming he was simply rigidly adhering to the rules. The publication came as a total surprise and shock to most botanists of the time. The third volume, published in 1898, took some criticisms into account but Kuntze's uncompromising nature meant that he was shut out of academia, especially in Europe.

Kuntze's singular approach to botany also highlighted a major schism between competing sets of the Rules of Botanical Nomenclature. These Rules were a precursor of the today's International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). The acrimonious conflicts were especially intense at the 2nd International Botanical Congress held in Vienna in 1905 and weren't fully resolved by botanists until the 5th Congress in Cambridge, United Kingdom in 1930.

Kuntze's publication was widely rejected or purposefully ignored but Fuchsia juntasensis remains in the absolutely biblical flood of unfortunate taxonomic synonyms it created. At the same time as F. juntasensis, Kuntze also collected two other novel fuchsias which he described as Fuchsia sanctae-rosae, collected at about 1,600 meter near Santa Rosa, Bolivia as well as F. tunariensis, collected there in the Tunari Mountain Range again at about 3,000 meters. Surprisingly, all three fuchsias are still valid. (Revis. Gen. Pl. 3(2): 97 (1898)

Fuchsia juntasensis lectotype detail

(Illustrations: 1. Fuchsia juntasensis. 2. Carl Ernst Otto Kuntze, 1867. 3. Detail - Lectotype collection of
Fuchsia juntasensis from the Herbarium of Otto Kuntze at the NYBG. Identified as Fuchsia venusta but corrected to F. juntasensis by Phillip Munz in 1941 and confirmed by Paul Berry in 1989.)