Forsythia suspensa (Thunb.) Vahl

weeping forsythia

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Weeping forsythia is native to China and popularly planted in North America for its arching branches that bear numerous, early-blooming, yellow flowers. The tips of its arching stems can root when they touch the ground; thus, the plant can spread. Its stems can be trained to twine like vines, making for a nice privacy hedge or garden border.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forest edges, forests, meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont
Growth form
the plant is a shrub (i.e., a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
Leaf type
  • the leaf blade is compound (i.e., made up of two or more discrete leaflets
  • the leaf blade is simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaves per node
there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
Leaf duration
the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
armature on plant
the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns
Leaf blade length
60–100 mm
Leaf blade width
15–50 mm
Leaf stalk
the leaves have leaf stalks
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Bark texture
the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
Twig winter color
  • brown
  • yellow
Bud scale number
there are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Bud scale number
    there are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed
    Bud scar shape (Fraxinus)
    NA
    Collateral buds
    there are no collateral buds on the sides of the branches
    Superposed buds
    there are no superposed buds on the branch
  • Flowers
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Enlarged sterile flowers
    there are no enlarged sterile flowers on the plant
    Flower appearance
    the flowers appear before the leaves
    Flower petal color
    yellow or green
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Hairs on ovary (Amelanchier)
    NA
    Hypanthium present
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Inflorescence hairs
    • there are hairs on some part of the inflorescence
    • there are no hairs on the inflorescence
    Inflorescence position
    the inflorescences grow on the twigs
    Inflorescence type
    • the flowers grow out of the axil (point where a branch or leaf is attached to the main stem)
    • the inflorescence has only one flower on it
    • the inflorescence is a fascicle (compact cluster of flowers)
    Number of pistils
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are fused to form a tube, cup, or bell shape
    Sepal cilia (Ilex)
    NA
    Stamen number
    1 or 2
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    NA
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Nut with spines (Fagaceae)
    NA
  • Glands or sap
    Sap color
    the sap is clear and watery
    Stalked glands on fruit (Rosa)
    NA
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is a shrub (i.e., a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
  • Leaves
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    • the base of the leaf blade is rounded
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    Leaf blade edges (Acer)
    NA
    Leaf blade hairs
    NA
    Leaf blade length
    60–100 mm
    Leaf blade scales
    there are no scales on the leaf blades
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade texture
    • the leaf blade is coriaceous (has a firm, leathery texture)
    • the leaf blade is herbaceous (has a leafy texture)
    Leaf blade translucent dots
    there are no translucent dots on the leaf blade
    Leaf blade width
    15–50 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf lobe tips (Quercus)
    NA
    Leaf midrib glands
    the midrib of the leaf blade lacks glands on the upper surface
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk nectaries
    there are no nectaries on the leaf stalk
    Leaf teeth
    the leaf blade margin is serrate (with forward-pointing) or dentate (with outward-pointing) with medium-sized to coarse teeth
    Leaf teeth hairs (Carya)
    NA
    Leaf type
    • the leaf blade is compound (i.e., made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    • the leaf blade is simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaves per node
    there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Specific leaf type
    • the leaf is compound, with three leaflets
    • the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant, or they fall off as the leaf expands
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor, or it has an unpleasant or repellant odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Aerial roots
    the plant has no aerial roots
    Bark texture
    the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
    Branch brittleness (willows only)
    NA
    Branch cross-section
    • the branch is circular in cross-section, or it has five or more sides, so that there are no sharp angles
    • the branch is roughly square or rectangular in cross-section, with four sides and four edges
    First-year cane (Rubus)
    NA
    Twig papillae (Vaccinium species only)
    NA
    Twig winter color
    • brown
    • yellow
    Wings on branch
    the branch does not have wings on it
    armature on plant
    the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
not applicable (S-rank: SNA)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Forsythia viridissima:
sepals 2-4.5 mm long and pith chambered through the internodes and nodes (vs. F. suspense, with sepals mostly 6-7 mm long and pith hollow through the internodes and solid at the nodes).
Forsythia intermedia:
sepals 2-4.5 mm long and pith chambered through the internodes and solid at the nodes (vs. F. suspense, with sepals mostly 6-7 mm long and pith hollow through the internodes and solid at the nodes).

Family

Oleaceae

Genus

Forsythia

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Forsythia suspensa (Thunb.) Vahl E

weeping forsythia. CT, MA, VT. Roadsides, forest borders, fields, areas of habitation.