Forsythia × intermedia

Forsythia × intermedia, or border forsythia,[1] is an ornamental deciduous shrub of garden origin.

Forsythia × intermedia
Forsythia intermedia a1.jpg
Hybrid parentageF.viridissima. × F. suspensa var. fortunei.
CultivarForsythia × intermedia
OriginGöttingen Botanic Gardens, Germany, 1878


A close-up of Forsythia × intermedia in flower

The shrub has an upright habit with arching branches and grows to 3 to 4 metres high.[2] The opposite leaves turn yellowish or occasionally purplish in the autumn before falling.[3] The bright yellow flowers are produced on one- to two-year-old growth and may be solitary or in racemes from 2 to 6.[2]


The hybrid is thought to be a cross between Forsythia viridissima and F. suspensa var. fortunei.[4] A plant of seedling origin was discovered growing in the Göttingen Botanical Garden in Germany by the director of the forestry botanical garden of the Royal Prussian Academy of Forestry in Münden, H. Zabel in 1878.[4] Zabel formally described and named the hybrid in Gartenflora in 1885.[5] It was introduced to the Arnold Arboretum in the United States in 1889.[4]


The hybrid is best suited to a position in full sun or partial shade and is drought-tolerant.[3] Like some other forsythias it is one of the earliest shrubs to flower. Well adapted to temperature changes, it blooms with bright yellow flowers that are noticeable even in twilight. It is one of several forsythia species that are widely cultivated in gardens and parks.


Cultivars include (those marked agm have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit):[6]

  • 'Arnold Dwarf' – low-growing with pale yellow flowers[3]
  • 'Beatrix Farrand' – a particularly floriferous cultivar[3]
  • 'Gold Tide' ('Courtasol') – floriferous, with deep yellow autumn colour[3]
  • 'Karl Sax' – deep yellow flowers with orange lines in the throat. Introduced by the Arnold Arboretum in 1960.[2]
  • 'Lynwood' – large flowers with broad petals[2]
  • 'Lynwood Variety'agm[7]
  • 'Spectabilis'[2]
  • 'Spring Glory' – purple-tinged foliage in autumn[3]
  • 'Variegata' – leaves with contrasting cream edges[3]
  • Week End='Courtalyn'agm[8]


The first dirigent protein was discovered in Forsythia intermedia. This protein has been found to direct the stereoselective biosynthesis of (+)-pinoresinol from coniferyl alcohol monomers.[9]



  1. ^ Dirr, Michael A. (1997). Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs - An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Timber Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-88192-404-6. Retrieved 2009-06-02.
  2. ^ a b c d e Rowell, Raymond J. (1980). Ornamental Flowering Trees in Australia. Australia: AH & AW Reed Pty Ltd. ISBN 978-0-589-50178-5.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Forsythia x intermedia". Plant fact sheets. NC State University. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
  4. ^ a b c "Forsythia x intermedia". INRA Centre d'Angers. Retrieved 2009-06-02.
  5. ^ "Forsythia ×intermedia". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2009-06-02.
  6. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 32. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  7. ^ "RHS Plantfinder – Forsythia × intermedia 'Lynwood Variety'". Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  8. ^ "RHS Plantfinder – Forsythia × intermedia Week End='Courtalyn'". Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  9. ^ Davin LB, Wang HB, Crowell AL, et al. (1997). "Stereoselective bimolecular phenoxy radical coupling by an auxiliary (dirigent) protein without an active center". Science. 275 (5298): 362–6. doi:10.1126/science.275.5298.362. PMID 8994027.

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