Types of Forsythias Explained

Forsythias, with their tall stems and vivid yellow flowers, welcome spring every year. Several different forsythia species grow around the world, as identified in the descriptions below.

Family and Structure

Forsythia belongs to the Oleaceae, or olive family. All forsythia are deciduous, losing their green leaves every fall. The flowers appear before the leaves, on canes with gray-brown bark.  

Green Stem Forsythia

Many forsythias originating in China are green-stem forsythia. New growth has distinctive green outer bark rather than gray-brown. These include Forsythia viridissima, F. giraldiana, and F. mira. Their flowers are smaller and a softer yellow than other forsythia. The Korea species has brighter and larger yellow blooms than other green stem forsythia.

Weeping Forsythia

Forsythia suspensa is called weeping forsythia, because many of its canes will bend down toward the ground to root. In this way, they spread the forsythia across a wide base.  

Forsythia Hybrids

Most forsythias in North America today are from two hybrids: F. intermedia, a cross between F. suspensa and F. viridissima and the other, F. variabilis, resulted from mating F. ovata from Japan with F. suspensa. F. intermedia "Lynwood" is more upright than the others and its yellow flowers cluster in fours along the stems.