Abeliophyllum distichum
Common Name: white forsythia 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Oleaceae
Native Range: Korea
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: White, sometimes with a pink tinge
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers full sun but tolerates light shade. Tolerates some drought but not wet conditions. Prune immediately after bloom because flower buds for the following year will form on the current year's growth. Needs periodic pruning (at least every 3-4 years) to control and maintain attractive shape.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Abeliophyllum distichum, commonly called white forsythia, is a round, deciduous shrub with a multi-stemmed habit. It is a rapid grower which will produce arching branches up to 5' tall and 4' wide. It is grown primarily for its very early, often profuse, spring bloom which consists of dense axillary clusters of white (sometimes with a pink tinge), 4-petaled, slightly fragrant flowers which open from purple buds in late March and cover the naked stems before the leaves unfold. Bloom slightly precedes related true forsythias. After bloom, the medium green foliage is generally unremarkable and produces little if any fall color.

Genus name comes from leaves that resemble those of Abelia.

Specific epithet means deeply cut or divided into deep lobes or segments. Leaves, however, are not divided or lobed.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Best grown in groups where spring bloom can be appreciated, but not in a prominent location since the shrub has little specimen value during the post-bloom growing season. Does well in a shrub border and can be an effective complement to yellow forsythia.