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Forsythia suspensa (weeping forsythia)

Weeping forsythia is an elegant, hardy shrub, which is a welcome sight in spring, thanks to its abundance of bright golden-yellow flowers on bare branches.
Yellow flowers of weeping forsythia

Forsythia suspensa (Photo: Martyn Rix)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Forsythia suspensa (Thunb.) Vahl

Common name: 

weeping forsythia, weeping golden-bell, Lián Qiáo (China)

Conservation status: 

Not known to be threatened.


Thickets or grassy areas on slopes, in valleys and gullies.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental, medicinal.

Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Forsythia

About this species

This attractive, but variable, shrub is native to China and has been cultivated in China and Japan for a considerable time. Sir William J. Hooker, writing in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine in 1857, described it as a ‘rare and handsome plant’, and noted with some surprise that it had ‘flourished unharmed in the open ground’ at the nurseries of Messrs Veitch and Son (of the Exeter and Chelsea Nurseries).

Weeping forsythia was taken for a lilac by Carl Thunberg, who was a pupil of the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus and visited Japan in 1775-1776. He therefore named it Syringa suspensa. Professor Martin Vahl (1749-1804), realising that the plant was not a lilac, later renamed it Forsythia, after William Forsyth (1737-1804), the then Superintendent of the Royal Gardens at Kensington and St James’s Palaces, and one of the founding members of the Royal Horticultural Society. Forsythia suspensa was apparently introduced to Holland by Arnold Verkerk Pistorius, in 1833. However, it arrived in England only in the 1850s.


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