Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Forsythia viridissima Lindl.

Fully-hardy, erect, deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub with upright shoots, which remain green in the second year, lance-shaped leaves to 15cm long, and bright yellow flowers, 3cm across, usually single but also in twos and threes, in spring. To 2m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

J. Saul of Washington D. C. wrote: ‘The value and exquisite beauty of this plant are not, I fear, sufficiently known in England, where, by many it is considered a second-rate subject. When Mr. Fortune introduced it to the Garden of the Horticultural Society from China [1844], he spoke in high terms of its beauty, and I question much whether anything more handsome can be found among all his introductions.’  [Journal of the Horticultural Society 1852]. ‘The original Forsythia, established on a Chinese plant cultivated in Japan, where it was introduced from China, appears to have been introduced into Holland in 1833 by M. V. Pistorius: but has never been cultivated in England.  That species is called F. suspensa, from the fact of a common form or variety of it having lax pendent branches: it has ternate leaves, broad obovate segments to the corolla, and longer calycine lobes.  Our plant bears the open air exceedingly well against a wall, and produces its copious bright yellow flowers while the leaves are yet but partially expanded.  Introduced to Europe by Mr. Fortune.  [BM t.4587/1851].  OFG f.3/1853.  BR f. 39/1847.  FS pl.IX 8e Liv./1847.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.452/1850].  Obtained from Kew Gardens, brought out from England by Captain P. P. King in 1849.  Macarthur indicated that it was not new to the colony.  It was also one of a number of plants received from Captain Simpson, apparently on the same ship as those accompanying King.  The source is unclear.  [ML A1980-3].


Published Feb 16, 2009 - 04:53 PM | Last updated Jul 28, 2010 - 02:34 PM

The image shows leaves and bright yellow flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.4587, 1851.

Forsythia viridissima Lindl. | BM t.4587/1851 | BHL

Family Oleaceae
Region of origin


Common Name


Name in the Camden Park Record

Forsythia viridissima 

Confidence level high