Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Forsythia Europaea

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Forsythia europaea (21/04/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Forsythia europaea (21/04/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 2.4m

Eventual Spread: 2.4m

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Oleaceae

Forsythia europaea is a deciduous spring flowering shrub with an upright habit. Its mid green leaves are ovate  with entire margins, up to 7cm long and 3cm wide. Its pale yellow, four lobed flowers are located singularly in the leaf axils, are up to 2cm long and appear before the leaves. Its fruit is a dry, ovoid capsule, contain winged seeds and appear in late summer. This shrub may sucker.

Forsythia europaea, commonly known as the Albanian Forsythia, European Forsythia or Balkan Forsythia, is native to Albania, Europe. In its native habitat it grows woodland margins and slopes.

The etymological root of the binomial name Forsythia is named after William Forsyth (1737-1804), the superintendent of the Royal Gardens in Kensington and St. James Palace and founder member of the RHS. Europaea is derived from the Latin meaning ‘of Europe’.

Forsythia europaea Flower (21/04/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Forsythia europaea Flower (21/04/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Forsythia europaea useful as a spring flowering shrub although it has parented better cultivars than the species, including Forsythia ‘Meadowlark’, ForsythiaNorthern Gold’ and Forsythia ‘Northern Sun’, when crossed with Forsythia ovata.  This shrub is not attractive to deer.

Ecologically, Forsythia europaea flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

Forsythia europaea prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Forsythia europaea requires little maintenance. If required, pruning should be carried out after flowering.

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