Forsythia suspensa (Thunb.) Vahl

Forsythia plant

Family - Oleaceae

Stems - To +2m tall, multiple from base, branching, woody, erect to reclining. Tigs hollow, with conspicuous lenticels, the youngest slightly 4-angled. Winter buds lance-ovoid, pointed.

Leaves - Opposite, petiolate. Petiole to 1.5cm long, minutely winged or not, glabrous. Blade lance-ovate to ovate, to +/-6cm long, +/-3cm broad, glabrous, green, acute. Margins serrate above the middle, typically entire near base.

Forsythia leaf

Inflorescence - Flowers mostly appearing before leaves, axillary, solitary or in fascicles. Pedicels glabrous, to +/-6mm long.

Flowers - Corolla yellow, 4-lobed, glabrous. Tube to 8mm long. Lobes to 2cm long, 1cm broad, oblong. Stamens 2, adnate at base of corolla tube. Filaments yellow, 4mm long, glabrous. Anthers yellowish-tan, 2.1mm long. Stigma biglobose, capitate. Style to 1.5mm long. Ovary glabrous, 2-locular, glabrous, superior. Calyx 4-lobed, green or with some purple. Tube to 1mm long, glabrous. Lobes to 6mm long, 2.5mm broad, with evident midvein. Margins entire, scarious, ciliate. Capsule loculicidal, to 2cm long, 1cm in diameter, tannish, with lenticels, many seeded.

Forsythia calyxCalyx.

Forsythia flowerFlower.

Flowering - March - April.

Habitat - Cultivated.

Origin - Native to Asia.

Other info. - Forsythia is one of the first plants to bloom in Missouri in the spring. The brilliant yellow flowers are impossible to miss and decorate the landscape. The flowers appear before the leaves but typically remain until the plant is almost leafed out. There are other species of Forsythia which are cultivated in Missouri but nearly all look alike. They can be differentiated by looking at the hairiness of the leaves and the pith (or lack of) of the twigs and branches. For a complete rundown of the genus go here.

Photographs taken off Hwy 66, Stokes County, NC., 3-22-03.