AskDefine | Define Forsythia

Dictionary Definition

forsythia n : any of various early blooming oleaceous shrubs of the genus Forsythia; native to eastern Asia and southern Europe but widely cultivated for their branches of bright yellow bell-shaped flowers

User Contributed Dictionary



Proper noun

  1. a taxonomic genus, within family Oleaceae - the forsythias

See also

  • See Wikispecies for species

Extensive Definition

Forsythia 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.
They are deciduous shrubs typically growing to a height of and, rarely, up to with rough grey-brown bark. The leaves are opposite, usually simple but sometimes trifoliate with a basal pair of small leaflets, and range from in length and, rarely, up to 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 fruit is a dry capsule, containing several winged seeds. Sources:
A genetic study 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; 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.
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.
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.
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.
Forsythia in Danish: Forsythia
Forsythia in German: Forsythien
Forsythia in Spanish: Forsythia
Forsythia in Esperanto: Forsitio
Forsythia in French: Forsythia de Paris
Forsythia in Korean: 개나리속
Forsythia in Croatian: Forzicija
Forsythia in Italian: Forsythia
Forsythia in Lithuanian: Forsitija
Forsythia in Dutch: Forsythia
Forsythia in Japanese: レンギョウ
Forsythia in Polish: Forsycja
Forsythia in Portuguese: Forsythia
Forsythia in Russian: Форсайтия
Forsythia in Serbian: Форситија
Forsythia in Chinese: 连翘
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