Forsythia flowwers (Forsythia sp)
Forsythia is appreciated by gardeners due to its beautiful yellow flowers, which appear in early spring all along the bare branches. These flowers are one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.

Table of Contents

Forsythia: Plant profile

Common names

Forsythia, Border Forsythia, Golden Bells, Yellow Bells, Lian Qiao (CH)

Botanical name

Forsythia sp.

Plant family

Oleaceae (Olive)


Mostly native to eastern Asia, except Forsythia europaea, native to the Balkans in southeastern Europe. Commonly planted in British and Irish gardens.

Where to find Forsythia

Forsythia do not normally grow wild, but it’s occasionally planted in parks and widely used in gardening.

When to find Forsythia

The plant blooms early spring for a short period of time.

How to identify Forsythia

Deciduous large, upright shrubs with arching stems. The leaves grow opposite each other and are ovated and serrated, though there are different varieties. The leaves also only appear after the flowers. These are yellow and tubular, with four petals that only join at the base. Flowers cover the entire shrub in early spring.

Forsythia lookalikes

Wintersweet (Chimonanthus sp.) and Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) can look quite similar. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis) have certain resemblance from the distance.

Forsythia flowwers (Forsythia sp)

All about Forsythia

A very welcome sight after a hard winter, Forsythia is one of the first bloomers to catch your eye every season, bursting into bright yellow shrubs overnight to then lose its colour two weeks later, becoming rather boring for the rest of the year again.

This genus is named after William Forsyth, a British royal gardener and founding member of the RHS, who brought the plant from China to England centuries ago.

Cultivated as a low-maintenance ornamental bush, Forsythia is an extremely popular ornamental shrub in parks and gardens all over the UK and Ireland and is seldom found out of cultivated spaces.

Culinary uses and recipes with Forsythia

Blossoms are edible raw, though they taste rather bitter. Toss a few fresh flowers in a salad for decoration, combining with other foraged leaves in season. It can be made into syrup, jelly, tea and infusions and petals can be added to gin & tonic..

Medicinal properties of Forsythia

Chinese medicine has been using the plant for thousands of years and Weeping Forsythia (Forsythia suspensa) fruit (Lian Qiao) is well appreciated as a medicinal herb, with an antiseptic effect among other qualities. There is not a great deal of scientific information readily available on safety, therefore caution is advisable.

Forsythia flowwers (Forsythia sp)

Safe foraging of Forsythia

There is limited information on the effects of using Forsythia.

Leaves contain the glycoside Phillyrin.

Ecological importance of Forsythia

The flowers feed a variety of insects, including small bees and pollinating flies.

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Picture of Alvaro // Wild Plant Guy

Alvaro // Wild Plant Guy

I am the human behind BritishLocalFood. As a forager and wild food educator, my aim is to inspire you to go outdoors, familiarise with your local plants and make the best of their culinary and medicinal properties, in the hope you'd pass on any knowledge gained down to the next generation.

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