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Forsythia × intermedia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Forsythia

See text

Forsythia (pronounced /fɔrˈsɪθiə/)[1] is a genus of flowering plants in the family Oleaceae (olive family). There are about 11 species, mostly native to eastern Asia, but one native to southeastern Europe. The common name is also Forsythia; the genus is named after William Forsyth.[2][3][4]



They are deciduous shrubs typically growing to a height of 1–3 m (3–9 ft.) and, rarely, up to 6 m (18 ft.), with rough grey-brown bark. The leaves are opposite, usually simple but sometimes trifoliate with a basal pair of small leaflets, and range from 2–10 cm (1–4 in.) in length and, rarely, up to 15 cm (6 in.) long; the margin is serrated or entire. The flowers are produced in the early spring before the leaves, bright yellow with a deeply four-lobed corolla, the petals joined only at the base. The Forsythia's flowers are impressive with the fact that they are able to produce lactose (the milk sugar). Lactose is very rarely established in other natural sources except milk. This shrub is perhaps best known for its relevance in the children's game 'rabbits' that emerged in the 20th century. The bright yellow petals of the shrub were likened to bananas, which children would then pretend to eat, although the tenuous link between bananas and rabbits has never been established.[1] The actual fruit is a dry capsule, containing several winged seeds.[2][5]


  • Forsythia europaea Degen & Bald. Balkans in Albania and Serbia.
  • Forsythia giraldiana Lingelsh. Northwest China.
  • Forsythia japonica Makino. Japan.
  • Forsythia likiangensis Ching & Feng ex P.Y.Bai. Southwest China.
  • Forsythia mandschurica Uyeki. Northeast China.
  • Forsythia mira M.C.Chang. North central China.
  • Forsythia koreana (Nakai) T.B.Lee. Korea.
  • Forsythia ovata Nakai. Korea.
  • Forsythia suspensa (Thunb.) Vahl. Eastern and central China.(Chinese: 连翘)
  • Forsythia togashii H.Hara. Japan (Shōdoshima).
  • Forsythia viridissima Lindley. Eastern China.
  • Forsythia 'Northern Gold' Canada.


A genetic study[9] does not fully match the traditionally accepted species listed above, and groups the species in four clades: (1) F. suspensa; (2) F. europaea — F. giraldiana; (3) F. ovata — F. japonica — F. viridissima; and (4) F. koreana — F. mandschurica — F. saxatilis. Of the additional species, F. koreana is usually cited as a variety of F. viridissima, and F. saxatilis as a variety of F. japonica;[10] the genetic evidence suggests they may be better treated as distinct species.

Forsythias are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Brown-tail and The Gothic.

Cultivation and uses

The hybrids Forsythia × intermedia (F. suspensa × F. viridissima) and Forsythia × variabilis (F. ovata × F. suspensa) have been produced in cultivation.[5]

Forsythias are popular early spring flowering shrubs in gardens and parks. Two are commonly cultivated for ornament, Forsythia × intermedia and Forsythia suspensa. They are both spring flowering shrubs, with yellow flowers. They are grown and prized for being tough, reliable garden plants. Forsythia × intermedia is the more commonly grown, is smaller, has an upright habit, and produces strongly coloured flowers. Forsythia suspensa is a large to very large shrub, can be grown as a weeping shrub on banks, and has paler flowers. Many named garden cultivars can also be found.[5] Forsythia is frequently forced indoors in the early spring.

Commercial propagation is usually by cuttings, taken from green wood after flowering in late spring to early summer; alternatively, cuttings may be taken between November and February.[5] Low hanging boughs often take root, and can be removed for transplanting. A common practice is to place a weight over a branch to keep it on the ground, and after it has rooted, to dig up the roots and cut the rooted part from the main branch, this can then be planted.

F. suspensa (Chinese: pinyin: liánqiào) is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Chinese herbology. Forsythia sticks are used to bow a Korean string instrument called ajaeng.



  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ a b c Flora of China: Forsythia
  3. ^ a b Flora Europaea: Forsythia
  4. ^ a b St Andrews Botanic Garden: Plant of the Month: Forsythia
  5. ^ a b c d e Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  6. ^ University of Oxford, Oleaceae information site: Forsythia
  7. ^ Northscaping Info Zone - Northern Gold Forsythia - Forsythia 'Northern Gold'
  8. ^ Government of Alberta, Agriculture and Rural Development
  9. ^ Kim, K.-J. (1999). Molecular phylogeny of Forsythia (Oleaceae) based on chloroplast DNA variation. P. Syst. Evol. 218: 113-123. Abstract.
  10. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Forsythia

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Forsythia tree




Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. (taxonomy) A taxonomic genus within the family Oleaceae — the forsythias.
Wikispecies has information on:


See also

  • See Wikispecies for species


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Forsythia monza marzo-01.jpg


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Oleaceae
Genus: Forsythia
Species: F. europaea - F. giraldiana - F. x intermedia - F. japonica - F. mandshurica - F. ovata - F. suspensa - F. togashii - F. viridissima


Forsythia Vahl

Vernacular names

Српски / Srpski: Форситија
Deutsch: Forsythie
Esperanto: Forsitio
Русский: Форсайтия, Форзиция
Türkçe: Altınçanağı, Altınçanak


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