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Products > Deppea splendens 'Cristóbal'
Deppea splendens 'Cristóbal' - Golden Fuchsia
Image of Deppea splendens 'Cristóbal'
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Rubiaceae (Madders)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Synonyms: Deppea splendens "Type C", [Deppia, Hort.]
Height: 6-8 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32° F
Deppea splendens 'Cristóbal' (Golden Fuchsia) – An open multi-stemmed shrub to 8+ feet tall by about 5 feet wide with attractively ribbed bright green leaves in whorls of three. Flowering in the late summer through fall in the bay area and often starting in spring further to the south, it has 6-inch-long wiry peduncles from which dangle a corymb of 2-inch-long tubular yellow flowers that flare outward at the tips of the 4 petals and hang beneath dark red calyces.

Best kept in morning sun or light shade in southern California to full sun to the north and along the coast. Give regular to occasional irrigation - a plant in our garden is thriving in afternoon sun with infrequent watering. This plant is tender and best in areas with just light frost. Early plantings at the Huntington Gardens perished during the cold Christmas 1990 freeze there, but survived and rebounded in our garden after the three nights at 25° F in the January 2007 freeze with only a building's eaves for protection. A very attractive and interesting specimen shrub in the garden or as a large container plant. Though native to a cloud forest it seems particularly at home in a cool yet nearly frost-free coastal garden.

Deppea splendens was first collected as pressed specimens by Dennis Breedlove in 1972 in Chiapas, Mexico, as part of his ongoing work for the Flora of Chiapas. It was only known from a single canyon within the cool cloud forests on a south slope of Cerro Mozotal in of Southern Chiapas, where it grew as a large shrub or small tree. Plants in cultivation are seedlings of a Dennis Breedlove and Bruce Bartholomew's collection at this site from 1981, which at that time was described as an "unknown Rubiaceae". It was later described in 1987 as Deppea splendens by Dennis Breedlove and David Lorence and noted from a visit in 1986 as possibly extinct in the wild since the site of this original collection was cleared for farm crops and urban development.

We first received two clones of Deppea splendens (types "B" and "C") and started growing the type "C" form which was then named 'Cristóbal', after the city of Chiapas that Breedlove used as his home base during the decades he collected there. Our release of this plant coincided with it being a Pacific Plant Promotion introduction in year 2000. Pacific Plant Promotion is a collaboration between the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (now California Botanic Garden), the Huntington Botanic Garden and Pacific Horticulture. The name for the genus honors German naturalist Ferdinand Deppe (1794-1861) who with the German botanist Diederich von Schlechtendal collected the type species, Deppea erythrorhiza, in Veracruz, Mexica in 1829. The specific epithet is from the Latin word for "bright", "shinning" or "splendid". Occasionally the genus name has been spelled incorrectly as Deppia (as we did in our 2001-2004 catalogs!). We first saw the common name "Golden Fuchsia" listed for this plant on the Annie's Annuals website and felt the name fitting for this rare attractive plant, so we too list it as such since no other common name seems to exist. 

This information about Deppea splendens 'Cristóbal' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.