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A deciduous shrub up to 15 ft high, branches gracefully spreading; young shoots slender, soon glabrous, black-purple on the upper side; pith lamellate. Leaves 2 to 4 in. long, 3⁄4 to 13⁄4 in. wide, narrowly ovate-lanceolate, entire, rarely with a few serrations, tapered to rounded at the base, tapered at the apex to a long slender point, glabrous above, slightly hairy on the veins beneath; stalk 1⁄6 to 1⁄2 in. long, slightly hairy. Flowers solitary, soft yellow corolla 1 to 11⁄2 in. wide with a short tube and four oblong-lanceolate, pointed lobes; stamens yellow. Fruits smooth, ovoid, with a short beak. Bot. Mag., t. 9662.
Native of China in the provinces of Kansu, Shensi, and Hupeh; described from material collected in 1897 by the missionary after whom it is named, subsequently found in Hupeh in 1907 by Silvestri and introduced in 1914 by Reginald Farrer, who collected the seeds in Kansu. Farrer’s introduction was at first erroneously thought to be F. suspensa var. atrocaulis (q.v.), and was distributed under that name.
Like all the forsythias it is handsome in flower and of easy cultivation and, although not the best of its kind, it is of value for coming into bloom in late February or the first week of March, usually somewhat earlier than F. ovata. Its distinguishing marks – in combination – are its lamellate pith, its entire leaves, and its early flowering.