People back East are enjoying one of the exhuberant signs of spring: bright yellow blooming forsythias. Two photos: as a whole shrub and in close-up:



From Wikipedia:

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.

… Two species of forsythia are at the heart of the selected forms, for both species are variable, and garden hybrids: Forsythia suspensa and F. viridissima.

Forsythia × intermedia, as its name suggests, is a hybrid of F. suspensa and F. viridissima

As for Forsyth:

William Forsyth (1737–1804) was a Scottish botanist. He was a royal head gardener and a founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society. (link)

We don’t see much forsythia in these parts, because they require a winter freeze to flourish. They do grow in California and elsewhere in the West, but only in areas with cold winters; the Sunset New Western Garden Book enumerates these.

2 Responses to “forsythia”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Robert Coren on Facebook:

    Love it. We’ve got some in Gloucester [MA] (not quite in bloom yet, Gloucester being a week or two behind Cambridge) which is getting kind of unruly. We think about cutting it back, and then early May comes and we get a Wall of Gold that’s hard to resist.

    I’ve always pronounced the middle vowel as /ɪ/, because my mother did, but it occurred to me recently that this is probably wrong, given the usual pronunciation of “Forsyth”.

    I respond: It could be a laxing of /aj/ before two unaccented syllables — known in the trade as Trisyllabic Laxing (cf. pairs like saline – salinity [and similar pairs with other tense vs. lax vowels, like serene – serenity]).

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